Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, expressing worry about the alarming rate of road crashes and their impact on national development, asked all stakeholders to commit to the agenda to end the national tragedies.
“As at the end of April this year, a total of 4,294 road traffic cases, involving 7,066 vehicles have been reported, resulting in 809 deaths,” he stated.
“It continues to account for nearly 2,000 deaths and 12,000 injuries annually. This alarming situation requires a multi-faceted approach to address the menace.”
The Minister said these in a speech, read on his behalf, at the launch of “Ghana Drivers and Road Safety Awards”, in Accra.
The event, which aims at rewarding drivers who have exhibited excellent transport delivery services, is a collaboration between the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and Shenkani Limited, a private driver welfare agency.
Mr Asiamah, therefore, urged drivers to be vigilant and observe road safety regulations, noting that road traffic crashes did not discriminate against their victims.
However, available data suggest that about 70 per cent of crash victims are males, while 65 per cent of the victims is within the productive age group of 16 to 45 years.
Driver distraction, non-compliance with road regulations, vehicular mechanical faults, bad road engineering and over speeding have been identified as some of the major causes of crashes.
The Minister said the National Road Safety Commission had since 2009 innovatively deployed the awards scheme to influence a positive road safety culture among operators and stakeholders.
Many transport operators, he said, had responded to the call for the awards and had introduced systems such as Road Safety Officers, Driver Training, Pre-departure checks to enhance their operations and improve road safety.
The various competitive and meritorious categories for individuals and corporate bodies are Best Driver (Taxi), Best Driver (Trucks, Tankers and Heavy Duty), Best Driver (Inter-City Transport) Best Driver (Intra City Transport or Trotro) and Overall Best Driver Award
Transport Union Leadership Awards are Solid Cargo, Liquid Cargo, and Bus Occupants or Passenger operations.
Media Awards are Best Road Safety Journalist (Print), Best Road Safety Journalist (Radio), and Best Road Safety Journalist (Television).
The 2018 Ghana Drivers and Road Safety Awards have been scheduled for Friday, November 23, 2018.
There will also be a Special Corporate and Individual meritorious awards for individuals and corporate citizens who have distinguished themselves promoting road safety in their space of action.
Dr Louise Carol Donkor, the Executive Chairperson of Shenkani Ghana Limited, said drivers constituted the most important element in road safety, adding that, distracted driving had occupied the top spot for the highest cause of road accidents globally since the invention of the motor vehicle.
She said Shenkani Ghana Limited had decided to make the driver element in road safety their focus, which ties well with their business model of improving driver welfare.
“Drivers will be rewarded for defensive driving, knowledge of, and compliance with, driving regulations, driving skill and expertise, customer service, driving innovation, driving leadership, and overall professionalism,” she added.
She said the grand prize for the overall best driver is a brand new car, while other prizes are TV sets, as well as CPD training modules for drivers.
Dr Donkor said the processes involved the nomination phase, initial screening, phone interviews and screening, appraisal and verification, technical assessment and validation.
A Technical Committee composed of competent representatives from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council, Shenkani Ghana Limited, and chaired by the National Road Safety Commission, has been constituted to ensure the best drivers actually emerge winners.