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Regional News of Thursday, 21 May 2015

Source: GNA

First Lady addresses Third UN Global Road Safety Week

Mrs Lordina Mahama, the First Lady, on Wednesday urged road contractors and engineers to provide child-friendly facilities in road design and construction.

“Let us factor and incorporate child safety measures to save our children on our roads,” she said

Mrs Mahama was addressing a children's durbar organized by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), to mark the Third United Nations (UN) Global Road Safety Week.

The Week, organised by the NRSC on the theme: “Children And Road Safety,” is an initiative by the UN that calls on all countries to step up actions to better protect and halt the rising child fatality on the roads.

The Week which was held with the slogan “Save Kids’ Lives” also sought to highlight the plight of children on the world’s roads and generate action to better ensure their safety.

Mrs Mahama said Ghana records an average of 2,000 deaths annually, due to road accidents with 14,000 others getting injured.

She said 60 out of the total of 395 road traffic deaths which were recorded in the first quarter of this year, involved children under age 18 representing 15 percent of the total road traffic deaths for the period.

She advised drivers to reduce the risk of unsafe road usage, by avoiding practices such as excessive speeding, non-use of seat belts, overloading, on-use of crash helmets to prevent traffic crashes.

Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, Executive Director of the NRSC said the Commission will continue to be proactive in employing conventional approaches that were cost-effective, practical and result-oriented as it charted a paradigm shift in road safety interventions and initiatives.

“In our efforts to address road safety issues, the NRSC has been holding consultative engagements with its stakeholders to build consensus on the most viable and sustainable strategies to address road safety challenges”, she said.

She said the NRSC and its stakeholders would continue to pursue campaigns on child, pedestrian and passengers’ safety.

“The commission is also advocating and promoting the use of crossing aids (lollipop stands) as well as supervising children along roads, among other things, to help reverse the trend in child fatalities”, she added.

Mrs Dzifa Attivor, Minister of Transport, urged the public to take the issues of child safety on roads as a matter of urgency, because they threatened the survival of future leaders and the development of the country as well.

Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Minister of Education hinted that road safety clubs had been formed in schools to whip up the interest of children in road safety matters.

She said road safety text-books and teaching manuals had been prepared for basic and junior high schools.

“With the help of the World Bank, these road safety text-books have been prepared in our own context for easy learning and understanding”, she said.

Professor Opoku-Agyemang said a series of trainer workshops for teacher across the country had been organised to enable them teach the subject effectively.