The committee set up by President Nana Akufo-Addo in February 2018 to probe the cause of road accidents in Ghana following a streak of deadly crashes, one of which killed young dancehall artiste Ebony Reigns, has recommended that in addition to making the National Road Safety Commission an Authority, it must be given a budgetary support of GHS6.50 million “to scale up public education/sensitisation and training”.
The report also requested an amount of GHS1,05 billion for the various road agencies – Ghana Highway Authority; Department of Urban Roads; and the Department of Feeder Roads, “to clear the backlog of road signs, road-line markings, traffic signal lights and crash barriers on the national road network”.
In its report submitted to the president, the Committee “identified INDISCIPLINE as the main contributory factor to the increasing incidents of road traffic crashes”, according to Mrs May Obiri- Yeboah, the Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission, who addressed journalists together with Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on Sunday, 24 March 2019.
“This situation has culminated into total disrespect for road traffic laws and regulations related to travel speeds, overtaking, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, long driving periods, disregard for traffic regulations by motor riders including the non-use of crash helmets among others”.
Close to 70 people lost their lives in two separate crashes on Friday, 22 March 2019, necessitating a call by the president for the implementation of the recommendations of the accident report, which also recommended the approval of a proposal by the Ghana Police Service to enable the MTTD to “deploy traffic camera systems to detect and apprehend speed, red-light and related traffic offenses, and remove disabled vehicles from the road”.
Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said on Sunday that: “By a letter dated 16 April 2018, H.E. President Akufo-Addo granted executive approval for the proposed working solutions”.
Read her full statement below:
On Friday, 22 March 2019 Ghana experienced the unfortunate incident of two road traffic crashes which claimed more than 60 lives and injured many others on the Techiman – Kintampo highway and the Accra – Cape Coast highway.
I, on behalf of the Board, Management of the National Road Safety Commission (Commission) and the Road Safety sub-sector wish to express our condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in those tragic crashes. We also wish all the victims at the various hospitals receiving medical care, a speedy recovery.
Road traffic crashes have seen an upsurge of road deaths and injuries from the beginning of this year. Available statistics from the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service indicates that from January to end of February 2019, a total of 411 persons were killed and 2,048 were injured through road traffic crashes in Ghana.
We recall that in February 2018 after series of occurrences of road traffic crashes, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, expressed his concern about the carnage on our roads and tasked the Ministers of Interior, Transport and Roads and Highways to come up with a working solution to address the menace.
The Committee submitted its report to the President which identified INDISCIPLINE as the main contributory factor to the increasing incidents of road traffic crashes. This situation has culminated into total disrespect for road traffic laws and regulations related to travel speeds, overtaking, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, long driving periods, disregard for traffic regulations by motor riders including the non-use of crash helmets among others.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
The Report recommended the following:
1) Transformation of the National Road Safety Commission to an Authority and budgetary support of GHS6.50 Million for the Commission to scale up public education/sensitisation and training
2) Request for approval of a proposal by the Ghana Police Service to enable the MTTD to:
a) Deploy Traffic Cameras Systems to detect and apprehend speed, red-light and related traffic offences, and
b) Remove disabled vehicles from the road
3) Request for an amount of GHS1,05 billion for the road agencies, Ghana Highway Authority, Department of Urban Roads and Department of Feeder Roads to clear the backlog of road signs, road-line markings, traffic signal lights and crash barriers on the national road network.
By a letter dated 16 April 2018, H.E. President Akufo-Addo granted Executive Approval for the proposed working solutions.
IMPLEMENTATION OF ACTION PLANS
1. Cabinet has granted approval of the Memorandum to transform the National Road Safety Commission to National Road Safety Authority. The Attorney General has completed the draft Bill and the Ministry of Transport is preparing to engage the relevant Parliamentary-Select Committees. The National Road Safety Authority will be expected to, in addition to its current responsibility for carrying out public education, enforce standards on road safety as regards the design, construction and use of the road and vehicle. The Authority will also be responsible for the regulation of commercial transport operations/services.
2. The Ghana Road Fund has released the GHS6.50 Million to the National Road Safety Commission in full. The Commission has commenced implementation of our part of the action plan and comprehensive road safety education since December 2018 and has to date achieved the following:
a) Partnered with the Ghana Journalists Association to engage about 110 Senior Editors and Presenters in Accra, Elmina and Kumasi on the need to support road safety advocacy on their various platforms.
b) Further, the Commission has partnered with the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and Ghana Broad Casting Corporation to place road safety audio-visual messages in over fifty (50) Radio and Television Stations across the country.
c) Recruited, trained and deployed 300 graduates in all the ten (10) regions in Ghana (as it then was) educating drivers, motorcyclists and other road users at 51 strategic locations along the major highways in the country including lorry terminals, tollbooths, schools, markets and all public places within the communities on daily basis. In addition, the Commission has collaborated with NABCO to deploy some 500 personnel across some strategic terminals and corridors to help increase public awareness on best road safety practices.
d) The Commission, in collaboration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority and the Motor Traffic and Transport Department, have engaged the Association of Driving Schools, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transports (CILT) among others to train 50,000 drivers of high risked transport operating groups as a prelude to the implementation of Regulation 125 of the Road Traffic Regulations 2012, LI 2180 which provides for a mandatory refresher and upgrading training for commercial vehicle drivers prior to renewal and/or upgrading of their drivers licenses by the DVLA.
In addition to the measures being implemented under the additional funding from the Presidency, other completed and ongoing projects by the Commission are:
1. Installation of road crossing aids popularly known as “Lollipop Stands” at basic schools in selected regions to assist the school children to cross the road safely. 150 of the planned 1,000 Lollipop Stands across the country have been installed.
2. Installation of 8No. First Aid Posts at the following locations as part of a pilot for a total of one hundred (100) expected to be installed on selected locations to improve emergency response to victims of road traffic crashes:
a) Asuboi, Bunso, Asankare, Juaso (all on the Accra – Kumasi highway)
b) Toje, near Ada and Nogokpo on the Accra – Aflao road, and
c) Okyereko and Apam Junction on the Accra – Capa Coast highway
3. The Commission has procured 10No. each of Speed Radar Guns and Alcometers and 4,000No. Reflective Jackets valued at Ghs1.5m to enhance their capacity for enforcement of road traffic laws and regulations these will be handed over to the MTTD before the end of March 2019.
4. The Commission in a bid to solicit critical support for road safety has been engaging some selected political, religious and traditional rulers across the country to assist as Goodwill Ambassadors and Advocates.
5. The Commission is reliably informed that the Motor Traffic and Transport Department has completed preparation to deploy its traffic camera systems and seeking approval by the Police Council to commence operation.
The road agencies and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies MMDAs have stepped up efforts in providing the needed road signs, road-line markings and all the road safety appurtenances on the roads including street lighting within their respective jurisdictions.
In the long term, the Commission will step up its advocacy for stakeholders to consider the dualisation of some of the major accident-prone highways.
Again, the Commission will work with the Ghana National Ambulance Service, Ghana Red Cross Society, Ghana National Fire Service and all other emergency response services including National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) on the need to put in place a mechanism for the deployment of dedicated ambulances and well-publicised emergency response numbers to deliver quick response to victims of road traffic crashes.
In conclusion, I wish to seize the opportunity to ask for public support for the implementation of some critical road safety interventions. In recent times, we have been at the receiving end of some resistance for the introduction of one road safety measure or the other.
The Commission intends to lead a conversation on the implementation of the Regulation on Speed limiters, which requires that all commercial vehicles must be fitted with speed limiters to help manage speeds as a major contributory factor to road traffic crashes.
Again, we need to get to the stage where the Commission or Authority may be able to sanction public transport service providers for lapses in their operational standards, which is a culture that underlines the safety of the airline industry.
To achieve this and many others, the Commission will need the support of all stakeholders including the media for our collective good.
Road safety is a way of life and a collective responsibility. The Transport operators, GPRTU, PROTOA, VIP, VVIP etc., have a huge responsibility to ensure that their drivers are well educated and trained periodically. They must ensure at all times that their vehicles are roadworthy. The Police must intensify their enforcement programme and Passengers must speak out against conducts that put the lives in danger.
Road users must remember that the use of the road requires knowledge and responsibility. All road users must demonstrate discipline at all times whilst in traffic as drivers, riders, pedestrians, passengers, etc.
Let us work together to develop that culture which keeps us safe.