There have been calls for an effective solution to road traffic accidents which stands as the leading cause of death in Ghana.
Commercial drivers are mostly blamed for accidents, but they insist they are not to blame, instead they have associated the increasing road crashes to unauthorized speed ramps.
In a bid to find a lasting solution to road crashes, President Akufo-Addo set up a committee to identify the causes of the menace in the country and the committee’s report revealed that “indiscipline” is the major cause of road carnages.
Motorists were cited for flouting traffic laws and regulations, overtaking and indulging in the act of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Most drivers also do not comply with the 50km/h and 30km/h speed limits in urban and school and areas. Over speeding has claimed many lives on our roads living the dreams of several others shattered as a result of various forms of injuries sustained in a road crash.
In a report put together by GhanaWeb, drivers blamed road crashes on the increasing number of speed ramps that are illegally constructed by unauthorized persons in some communities.
According to them, drivers who are new to roads with speed ramps made of concretes and bark of trees in a bid to swerve them end up in head-on collisions when they unexpectedly bump into them.
When GhanaWeb visited drivers at the Kaneshie-Cape Coast-Takoradi main station in Accra, drivers who shared ways in which road accidents could be reduced, called on the National Road Safety Authority and relevant stakeholders to ensure that sanity is maintained on the various roads.
They cited fainted white line marking, inadequate road signs, unauthorized speed ramps and single carriage roads as the possible cause of accidents.
“We could have averted the accident if the Takoradi-Accra road was a dual-carriage. We are not against the construction of a speed ramps; we are only requesting the right authorities to construct them instead. We pay roadworthy, insurance, income tax but our safety is still not guaranteed,” a long-distance driver lament.
Another driver who spoke to GhanaWeb revealed that driving at night is a difficult task due to the many challenges that drivers have to endure to avert road accidents.
“The lights used by some filling stations are too high and this affects drivers who drive at night. Most of our road signs are old with some being covered by trees. Fix the road markings, drivers are not always the cause of road accidents,” he explained.
The road crash statistics in 2019 by the National Road Safety Authority showed that a total of 22,789 vehicles were involved in 13,877 crashes resulting in 2,284 fatalities with 1,4397 persons surviving various forms of injuries.
Passengers who were journeying from Accra to Takoradi two days after the January 13 accident which claimed the lives of 35 persons on the Cape Coast-Takoradi highway cited some challenges they come across during long journeys. Most of them believe that the negligence of some drivers results in road traffic crashes.
“Drivers are mostly the cause of road accidents; they do not listen to us when we advise them to slow down”.
A woman in her early 70’s also stated that “Drivers need to take some rest after long journeys else they will kill people”.
“I sometimes wonder why we abandoned broken-down vehicles on our roads, we only toll these cars after the harm has already been done. Some drivers are fond of wrongful overtaking”.
The essence of road reports is to impact behavioral change and to find a lasting solution to road traffic injuries based on the recommendations which are cited in those reports. Journalist have also played their role by broadcasting the numerous road safety awareness campaigns which are geared towards reducing road carnages.
In spite of all these reports, road traffic accident continues to be the leading cause of death in Ghana. The country spends up to $230 million every year treating injuries and traffic fatalities.
Chairman of the Kaneshie Cape-Coast Takoradi main station, Samuel Boadu, admonished government to construct dual-carriage roads as a way of ensuring that the highway becomes safe for use.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta, has revealed governments’ plans of converting the Accra-Takoradi highway into a dual carriage road. He made this known when he visited victims of the Dampoase accident who were admitted at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital.
A total of 35 deaths were recorded in the accident where a VIP bus traveling from Takoradi to Accra collided with another VIP bus traveling in the opposite direction.