From Samuel Agbewode, Ho
The Acting Volta Regional Manager of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Victor Tandoh (rtd), has expressed concern over the high rate of road traffic accidents in the country, which he noted, must be of concern to everyone.
ACP Tandoh disclosed that the country loses an average of 1,600 lives annually through road accidents, and out of the figure, 42 per cent of the victims are pedestrians.
The Volta Region NRSC Manager, who was speaking at a regional award ceremony for the various transport unions and organisations in Ho, disclosed that 70 per cent of people, who die through road accidents annually, were the active age group, between the ages of 16 to 55 years.
ACP Tandoh further explained that on average, four persons died daily in road traffic accidents, and that over-speeding had been identified as a major cause of road traffic crashes.
According to him, it accounted for over 60 per cent of reported cases in the country, which must be reversed.
He announced that between January and June 2010, 6,219 cases of road accidents were reported, which involved 8,594 vehicles, resulting in 4,470 injuries and 880 deaths, representing a 6.5 per cent increase in the 2009 figure of 6,648 injuries.
ACP Tandoh said issues of road safety remained largely neglected, thereby posing a growing health and developmental problem for the country.
He advised drivers to be extra vigilant during the Christmas festivities, announcing that the Commission had intensified its educational activities, to create awareness on the need for drivers to adhere to basic driving principles that would help reduce accidents.
ACP Tandoh also reminded drivers of cargo vehicles to avoid overloading, and pointed out that doubling the axle load of heavy vehicles damages the road sixteen times more.
The Volta Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) David Ampah Bennin, said it was the plan and policy of the police administration to help reduce the carnage on the roads.
DCOP Ampah Bennin said the Regional Police Command was putting contingency plans in place to ensure that the Volta Eegion was devoid of accidents before, during, and after the Christmas festivities, adding that it was the desire of the police to ensure that people travel to their destinations without fear.
The Volta Regional Minister, Mr. Joseph Amenowode, on his part, said road development was of high priority to the government, and that it would ensure that the road networks were good, to promote comfortable transport in the country.
Mr. Amenowode observed that road safety was a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder issue, which required a coordinated and concerted approach in its management.
He said the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC) and the municipal and district chief executives would collaborate effectively with the Regional Road Safety Commission to play the needed advocacy roles that would influence a change in road user attitudes.
The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) came first with 83 points, Metro Mass Transit had the second position with 74 points, and PROTOA came third with 53 points, as the best in managing their general administration, and the effective welfare of drivers among others.
They received TV sets, water protection equipments, road safety educational materials, and certificates, as their rewards to encourage them to stick to road safety measures that would help reduce accidents in the region.