Accra (Ghana) – A lot has been said already about how Ghana loses some 1.6 percent of her GDP through preventable road traffic accidents. Unfortunately, however, a lot continues to be reported too about the unending spate of these accidents.
In their February, 16 2009 editions, a number of newspapers had on their front pages gory pictures of road accident victims who were dead. The Ghanaian Times for instance reported that 62 people perished while several others suffered injuries in two separate accidents on the Kintampo-Tamale-Bolgatanga road. The cost of these reported accidents to the nation runs into billions of cedis.
Only last week, another road accident was reported to have occurred at Gomoa Potsin in the Central Region which claimed about four lives. Still, another was reported the same week to have occurred at Kwabenya in Accra.
It was as part of the measures to reduce the road traffic accidents that the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) was established. The Commission has been tasked to coordinate and promote best road safety practices for all categories of road users; this it has done a lot about so far.
Accidents undeniably, are accidents; they occur unexpectedly. But certain human action or inaction has the propensity of facilitating the possibility of accidents.
Studies conducted by the NRSC indicates for instance that fatigue on the part of drivers play a major factor in road traffic accidents. Other causes include the use of used tyres and a general disregard for road safety regulations. It is also a truism that most of our roads are highly unmotorable.
The result of this has been that Ghana continues to pay a costly price by losing a good number of its human resource to avoidable road accidents.
Indisputably, Ghana is yet to recover from the loss of the three urologists who lost their lives through a road traffic accident in 2005. Professor Edward Donkor Yeboah of the University of Ghana Medical School, a Urologist, paid tribute to the three on Tuesday, February 19 2009 whilst delivering a lecture. His lecture reminded all of how badly Ghana needs more of this special group of professionals.
Public Agenda notes with anticipation the assurances given by President Atta-Mills last week during the launch of a capacity-building project for local contractors that his government will make significant investment in the development and maintenance of the country’s entire road network.
It is the paper’s hope that all Ghanaians will rise to the occasion by playing their respective roles dutifully to ensure that road traffic accidents, especially the avoidable ones, are brought down to the lowest level possible. Drivers and other road users must adhere strictly to road safety regulations, government agencies like the Police, the Ministries of Roads and Highways, and Transport, the Road Safety Commission and others must ensure that they carry out their responsibilities to the highest level of efficiency, all in a bid to reduce considerably the number of accidents on our roads.