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Feature Article of Saturday, 26 January 2013

Columnist: Patrice Ofori Atta

Road Safety: A Shared Responsibility

Road accidents mostly happen as result of recklessness, carelessness, overconfidence and illiteracy among others, exhibited by drivers, not respecting road safety regulations, jumping the red light, wrong overtaking especially on the highways, and in cities like Accra and Kumasi. Bigger truck drivers sometimes do not pay attention when other road users need to access their fair share of the road they have also contributed in building. Some trotro buses are not even fit to be used to carry food stuffs, let alone human beings but they are being used each day to convey passengers from one end to another with impunity freely.

Again, most of the vehicles do not have workable speedometers but when they get unto the road, they speed without knowing what kilometers per hour the bus or vehicle is doing. What will be the result? Your guess is as good as mine. Overloading has become normal and acceptable to the extent that buses that should take about four passengers on a row now take six passengers instead. All these factors and more contribute to the many fatal accidents we witness on our roads daily.

Authorities such as the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Service, the National Road Safety Commission and other stakeholders have been working back and forth to bring sanity to our roads, unfortunately the canker still persists. It is time to have a human face approach towards reducing road accidents to the barest minimum.

The Road Safety Management Services Ltd. (RSMSL), a Ghanaian-owned private firm was established to manage the spate of road accidents in Ghana – in response to the national call by the late President H.E. John Evans Atta Mills for public-private partnership towards the reduction of road traffic accidents on the country’s roads.

The company has acquired state-of the-art tow trucks as well as ambulances for effective management of accidents on the roads. The tow trucks will be used in towing abandoned vehicles on the roads, whereas the ambulances will provide immediate medical attention to accident victims. The road safety management initiative is expected to employ, as many as thousand people to occupy various fields in the road safety drive.

Under the aegis of the Government of Ghana and with support from the National Road Safety Commission and Ghana Police Service, the Road Safety Management Services, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies was launched on Wednesday, 22nd February 2012. The mandate of RSMSL requires the firm to manage and reduce to the barest minimum the rate of road casualties on the roads. The firm has specialization in towing services, ambulance services and the establishment of rest stops/depots along the highways to respond to traffic, accidents as well as the recruitment of personnel to undertake diverse function in road safety management.

Imagine four thousand professional Safety Assistants augmenting the work of the Police on a daily basis, obviously a major impact will be felt.

These Safety Assistants have passed out in various courses, including road traffic acts and regulation, customer service in traffic management; road safety management services concept; road signs and symbols, crime and accident scene management, ethics of traffic law enforcement, first aid management, community policing and traffic management and drill.

Some of their duties include liaising with local police to protect life and property on our roads and in communities, patrolling accident-prone roads and notifying the road Safety Management Services Limited or Police of broken down vehicles. Others include ensuring good customer service traffic management, helping barricade accident scenes to ensure sanity, helping accident victims and assisting police in accident investigations.

Road Safety Management Services Ltd. (RSMSL) since its inception early this year through its Safety Assistants has made some indelible strides in minimizing road carnage in the country.

Statistics indicate that abandoned and disabled vehicles contribute to about 21.8 percent of fatal road accidents in Ghana, but with the Safety Assistants in their bright orange and reflector laced uniforms on our roads, armed with the RSMSL’s state of the art machinery, this figure has drastically reduced. Road Safety management is a shared responsibility, let us support the Safety Assistants of the Road Safety Management Services Ltd. to win the war against road accidents in our beloved mother Ghana. Please join us in our crusade against road accidents.

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