Opinions Mon, 12 Nov 2018
About three years ago, the Volta Regional Minister then, Madam Helen Adjoa Ntoso, while on a programme to Keta on the Ho-Denu-Aflao road, felt the nuisance of unauthorised high speed humps.The situation caused discomfort to all the drivers and passengers in vehicles in the convoy, thus, she immediately ordered their removal.
Her orders were carried out by the police, military and officials of the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA).
Similarly, on the Adidome-Sogakope road, the minister again ordered the removal of deadly speed humps, which was carried out by the military.
Then, the speed humps were just a few in some communities on that road.
Today, the story of illegal speed humps on the Ho-Denu-Aflao road has even become worse, with various communities along the highway mounting them to check vehicular speed on one of the Volta Region’s busiest trade routes.
From Wumenu, through Agotime to the Ave communities, unauthorised speed humps are the most common features motorists encounter on the road as every community mounts one to prevent speeding.
Even at curves in roads, communities mount speed humps made of wood, sand and stones, with no recourse to the laws guiding road safety.
Many vehicles, especially saloon cars find it difficult scaling the ‘Afadjato hump’ as they drive.
It is possible to count not less than 50 illegal humps on the road.
The poor nature of the roads riddled with potholes, coupled with the unauthorised speed humps, has made journeying on the road longer than the usual one and a half hour needed.
The unauthorised speed humps is not found are only the Ho-Aflao road.
On all the major roads in the region, these illegal humps have been mounted by community members who feel threatened by careless driving.
Although these humps are constructed with the good intention of preventing speeding and the throwing up of dust into the air as vehicles speed past, the issue has become a matter of concern calling for urgent attention.
There have been several complaints by road users concerning these speed humps on major roads constructed without recourse to specification and resulting in negative impact on the vehicles, drivers and passengers.
Some complaints include the frequent puncturing of tyres, increase in time spent getting to destinations, stress and bodily pains and environmental pollution.
Some people have lost their lives as a result of these unauthorised humps.
A recent case was the death of three civilian employees of the military attached to the Supreme Canons Band of the 66 Artillery Regiment, Volta Barracks in Ho.
Reports indicate that the vehicle in which they were travelling hit an illegal speed hump and burst a tyre causing the vehicle to veer off the road and fall into a ditch.
Humps and ambulances
The former regional administrator of the Ghana Ambulance Service (GAS) explained to the Daily Graphic that the speed humps affected their response time in assisting patients in emergencies.
“The speed humps are necessary where they are needed, but those especially on the highway should be cleared to save lives and properties,” he stated.
Despite the menace of these humps on the road, the perpetrators are not entirely to be blamed according to Mr Komla Ganyo, the proprietor of the New Age Driving School, who is on a one-man crusade for the GHA to clear unofficial humps and erect official ones to protect lives in these communities.
He explained that most of the authorised speed humps on the roads have been eroded and for that matter did not deter speeding drivers from slowing down when they reach towns.
This has led to the death of many innocent people in communities along the highways.
It came to light during a visit to Taviefe-Avenya on the Taviefe-Matse-Dzolo road that the youth of the community had taken the law into their own hands to erect three huge speed humps, 100 metres apart following the death of a three and half year old boy on September 10, 2018.
According to an aunt of the deceased, Madam Genevieve Hiagbe, her nephew was about the sixth victim in two years to have been killed by a speeding vehicle just after burying her grandfather, who also suffered a similar fate.
According to the stool father of the Mankrado for Taviefe, Kwame Hiagbe, the Ho Municipal Chief Executive and the Regional Director of Highways have been contacted and both had given an assurance that official humps would be erected to decrease speeding on the road.
“Until they come to our aid, we will not remove the humps we created because our lives are equally precious,” he said.
Members of another community, Matse, on the same stretch, also lamented the record of six deaths as a result of speeding vehicles. In Matse itself, there are official rumble strips but they appeared to have been worn out.
As a result of that, the residents of the community have created an unauthorised hump on the rumble strips.
Mr Ganyo said he believed that the GHA had failed to up their game in fixing eroded speed humps, and road markings, as well as erecting some where necessary, resulting in the numerous and unauthorised speed humps on every highway.
Responding to the issues of illegal humps in the region, the Volta Regional Director of the GHA, Mr Philip Agbati, said 25 new locations for speed tables have been identified on the Taviefe-Matse-Dzolokpuita road, adding that currently about 30 of those projects were ongoing on the Ho-Denu-Aflao road.
He, however, disagreed with a suggestion that the rumble strips on the Matse road had worn out, explaining that it was speeding drivers who did not feel the impact.
Together with the police and the Regional Road Safety Commission the authority, he said, would educate drivers and community members on the need to remove the illegal speed humps.
Columnist: Mary Anane-Amponsah