The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) yesterday launched a campaign intended to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 15%.
The “Stay Alive” campaign also aims to change drivers’ attitude toward overspeeding, wrongful overtaking, driving tired and jumping red lights.
With regards to both drivers and passengers, the campaign intends to reduce the non-wearing of seat belts and the non-wearing of crash helmets.
Lawmakers and enforcers were also not left out of this campaign, as it intends to reduce laxity and bribery among lawmakers and law enforcers respectively.
Some of the activities the authority and its stakeholders intend to undertake to drum home the message are outreaches to communities, schools, churches and lorry stations to educate and ensure compliance.
The Motto and the Traffic and Transport Departments will be made to deploy ICT systems to regulate the activities of drivers and road users.
There would also be radio, television, and print media campaigns to also educate people.
To ensure the effectiveness of the campaign, the stakeholders have put in place some punitive measures.
Some of these measures state that people who are caught driving drunk are liable to a minimum fine of 250 penalty units, which is equivalent to GH¢3,000 and not exceeding 500 penalty units, equivalent to GH¢6,000, or to a term of imprisonment of not less than 1 year and not exceeding 2 years, or to both.
Drivers who drive tired are liable to a minimum fine of not more than 25 penalty units, which is GH¢300, or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both.
Another punitive measure was that drivers who indulge in wrongful overtaking can receive a minimum fine of 2000 penalty units, which is equivalent to GH¢24,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or both.
The program is being carried out in partnership with the Prudence Foundation and Safe Steps Road Safety Africa.
Addressing a gathering at the forecourt of the State House in Accra to officially launch the project, the Minister for Transport, Mr. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, noted that the project is in furtherance of the “Arrive Alive Campaign” which was launched some months back.
He noted that the battle against road carnage is not over, so the country continues to record high traffic crashes and casualties, hence the need to amplify education.
He said the NRSA has singled out indiscipline as a contributing factor to crashes on our roads, hence the need to change attitudes to solve traffic crashes.
He said the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and the NRSA have done some work, but more work needs to be done, hence the appeal to Ghanaians to join in the campaign.
Ing. May Obiri-Yeboah, Director General of NRSA stated that road accidents have become a public health crisis and that the sooner a solution was found, the better for the country.
She said that between January and October, this year, over 2,300 and 12,800 people have been killed and injured, respectively, and about 1.6 percent of Ghana’s GDP, translating to over $160 million, is lost annually to road traffic crashes.
She said these losses have thrown people into abject poverty and other forms of hardship, hence the need to remedy them.
“The crashes we register everyday are not only reckoned in losses of lives, but behind these staggering figures lies a family that has been sent into abject poverty, a community burdened by dependence and a nation deprived of its valuable human capital.”
He said these amounts of money can help develop parts of the country, hence the initiative by the NRSA to reduce road carnage.
Safe Steps Road Safety Africa also indicated that statistics on road carnage are truly shocking and hence their partnership with NRSA to curb it.