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Opinions Fri, 23 Sep 2005

Why These Numerous Lorry Accidents On Ghana Roads?

he spate of lethal lorry accidents on Ghana roads is very alarming. It then calls for a studious investigative study into the causes to be better placed to redress the situation. The adverse affect on the nation economically, losing her precious energetic sons and daughters, the financial and psychological strain brought to bear upon the bereaved families, the government and the medical services cannot be over-emphasized. My own empirical observations into the causes reveal the following, in addition to all the other attributed factors.

1) The blame is squarely put on the heads of the nonchalant drivers who value not their lives let alone that of the passengers, hence resorting to careless driving.

2) Most of the drivers don't understand the code of driving, especially, the white broken and non broken lines on the ground. They overtake vehicles where they are not supposed to.

3) Some of the drivers often attempt to overtake vehicles on upward slope or at bends when they can hardly see even 100 metres ahead of them.

4) The most dangerous of all which I often see the drivers do, is their failure to cede or give way to a vehicle that has decided to overtake them. Most often one could see a vehicle hurtling down the same road lane in the opposite direction in a likely head-on clash with the vehicle doing the overtaking but the car being overtaken wouldn't cede passage by slowing down to avoid the looming accident, knowing the other driver can no longer manoeuvre. This leads to head-on clash of vehicles or cars swerving unnecessarily but ultimately culminating in accidents. Failure to cede passage to a vehicle in such dangerous situation is a crime in the Whiteman's land and so should it be in Ghana.

5) Most drivers in attempts to avoid potholes take to the tracks of on-coming vehicle lanes whether or not they can see ahead of them.

6) Drink drive and over speeding where they lose their senses and the grip of the cars at the least provocation of whatever sort.

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7) Mechanical problems of the vehicles resulting from lack of maintenance are also to blame but not as much as the deliberate actions of the drivers as listed above.

8) The corrupt attitude of the Police in checking the drivers and their vehicles, accepting bribes and waiving faulty vehicles through.

9) The numerous bad road constructions with innumerable vehicle-damaging potholes

I personally believe if our drivers could be a bit more rational, patient and self restraint, most of the accidents could be avoided. I suggest those drivers who callously desire to punish the stupid drivers who attempt to overtake them at the wrong time, getting them into head-on clashes, should please consider the innocent lives of the passengers who have no control over the actions of their drivers. The passengers should report their careless drivers to the police, the motor union or the vehicles' owners as is applicable. The vehicle owners should give such drivers verbal or written warning, the repeat of which same mistake will lead to the recalcitrant driver losing their job. The police should please be very much more interested in saving lives doing their job properly than always seeking first to line up their pockets at the expense of human lives being lost through avoidable motor accidents.

We always blame our simple mistakes on witches and wizards especially where motor accidents peak in December, the Christmas period. If our drivers were prudent, accidents would be avoided at all times without attribution of any evil play to our assumed witches and wizards. Let us accept and blame ourselves for our shortcomings to be able to change rather than perpetuate in those acts, exonerating ourselves blaming our own mistakes on some imaginary evildoers. The government is only blameable by failing to enforce stringent Code of Driving and the lack of proper supervision of the roads construction or else, the greater blame is on the drivers as explained all along. The passengers are to blame to a minimal extent by failing to report careless drivers to the Police, Station masters, the Motor Union and the "car" owners. Each player stained in blame here should do their bit to rectify the anomaly, to ensure safe "car" travelling in Ghana.

My own dear sister, Nana Ama (Martha Basoah) of treasured memory was killed in a motor accident through the same careless driving of the driver in a car in which she was a passenger. The driver of her car was overtaking the other driver at the wrong time and place. The pain of her loss still lingers in my heart after 11 years on. This goes to tell how more painful it is to lose a dear one through untimely lorry accident than in terminal illness.



Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson