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Regional News Sun, 29 Feb 2004

Don't allow spare drivers or mates drive vehicles

Tema, Feb. 29, GNA -- Mr Stephen Okudzeto, General Secretary of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has expressed concern about commercial drivers giving their vehicles to spare drivers and mates as the practice contributes to the spate of accidents in the country. He said such unqualified persons are not covered by insurance in the motor transport and traffic code and warned that such drivers, their spare or mates would be dealt with when caught.

He was addressing drivers of the various branches of the GPRTU at a day's course organised by the Petroleum Road Transport Safety Limited (PTSL) on safety driving on Saturday at Tema.

The course was being sponsored by Mr Joseph H. Horgle of Horgle Transport Company limited.

The course had "Training the commercial driver-GPRTU approach to preventing carnage on our roads", as its theme. He said the tendency of drivers' mates learning from their masters was also a contributory factor to accidents and called for a stop to the practice.

Mr Okudzeto said the spate of accidents occurring in the country is of great concern to the union and the entire nation and impressed on drivers to exercise outmost care by observing the traffic regulation. He said Ghana has been classified among the first ten countries in the world and the third in Africa in accident rating and said it is a record which one needs not to be proud of.

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He indicated that road transport is the dominant mode of transportation in the country as it covers about 97 percent, rail two percent and with air and navigation taking one percent.

He described this trend of traffic events as unfortunate as it put fear in passengers when they board vehicles and urged them to reverse the trend and make road transport friendly.

The GPRTU, he said, is considering adopting the use of alcolmeter to check whether drivers had taken in alcohol as well as impress on the law enforcement agencies to consider banning the sale of alcohol at the lorry stations.

He advised drivers to undertake constant maintenance of their vehicles refrain from speeding, overloading and overtaking and be conversant with road signs and traffic regulations.

Mr Joseph Horgle of Horgle Transport Limited asked car owners not to always concentrate on collecting sales from drivers but consider sponsoring them for periodic courses in order to sharpen their skills that would lead to safe driving.

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He described investment in drivers' courses to as tithe payment to save human lives.

Mr Horgle urged drivers to dress decently since they are the first point of call by visitors, especially tourists and the first impression carried either positive or negative effects on the nation. Mr Gerbshon Klutse, General Manager of the PRTSL commended the Horgle Company for the concern shown to drivers to sponsor their training and urged the participants to let the knowledge acquired to manifest in their operations.

Mr Henry Adoma Kyere, 68, a participant who is a taxi driver noted that 95 percent of accidents occur due to careless driving and five to mechanical fault.

He therefore, called on his colleagues to exercise care when driving in order to save lives, saying that he started driving since 1971 and had not encountered any problem.

Topics treated included use of mirrors, overtaken and being overtaken, space cushion-separation and following distance, road signs/markings, system of vehicle control and warning triangle. 29 Feb 04

Source: GNA