Editorial

Editorial: Gov’t should not kowtow to the dictates of cargo drivers

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Editorial

The Ghanaian Times on January 13, 2022 quoted the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) as saying that a total of 2,924 persons died in 2021 through road crashes.

Additionally, the story continued that 15,972 road crashes were also recorded within the same period, resulting in 13,048 injuries. To help stem the tide, the NRSA promised to strictly enforce its directives to all intercity bus operators that travel more than 500 kilometres or more than eight hours to engage two drivers.

The Chronicle is unable to tell whether NRSA has fulfilled its promise. We can, however, state that the fatalities on our roads are very frightening and something ought to be done about it.

Though the figures for this year (2022) are not yet known, since the year has not come to an end, we believe it will be nothing to write home about, because our attitudes on the roads have not changed.

Whilst our poor road networks and single lane roads, instead of dual carriage ways linking our regional capitals, are major contributory factors to the problem, over loading is another major challenge which we tend to overlook.

It is common knowledge that vehicles that transport foodstuffs from the hinterland to the urban centres overload their vehicles. The same applies, especially to the charcoal transporters, who overload their vehicles, making it very difficult for oncoming traffic to even see ahead.

But despite the danger they pose to other road users, these drivers are still pleading with the government to allow them to overload their trucks, since that is the only way they can break even.

Addressing a news conference in Accra recently, the Chairman of the Achimota Cargo Station, Abdallah Mohammed, threatened that they would park their cargo trucks if they are not allowed to either overload the vehicles or increase freight charges.

Much as The Chronicle sympathises with these drivers, especially with the hike in fuel prices, we completely disagree that they should be allowed to overload.

Obviously, they are looking at how to make profits without thinking about their own safety and the safety of other road users. This is unfortunate and we do not think the Ministry of Transport will kowtow to their demands.

In our opinion, these drivers should rather negotiate with the government for the upward adjustment of the prices they are currently charging, instead of the threat to park their vehicles if they are not allowed to overload.

The police, we advise, should continuously keep these truck drivers in check by arresting and prosecuting them for overloading their vehicles.

Under no circumstance should their commercial interest supersede the right of individuals to live as human beings.

As we have already indicated, the right to live had already been taken away from 2,924 Ghanaians who died through road crashes last year alone. Accepting the demands of these drivers will amount to giving them license to kill on our roads. Let those who have ears listen to us.

THE CHRONICLE

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