General News of Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Accra, Oct. 14, GNA - Available statistics indicate that 2,043 people perished in road accidents in 2007 compared to 1,858 people who died in 2006.
The increase was due to indiscipline on the part of drivers. "Our roads have become slaughterhouses where we are butchered in great numbers. We all know that most of these accidents could be prevented with little effort, discipline and respect for other road users," Mr Kofi Asamoah, General Secretary, Ghana Trades Union Congress(GTUC) said in Accra on Tuesday.
He was speaking at the 2008 International Road Transport Action Week to mark this year's Federation of Transport Unions (FTU) celebrations. FTU action week, which runs from October 13-19 is on the theme: "Organizing Globally, Building Union Power, Eradicating the Carnage on our Roads, Addressing the Undue Delays at our Frontiers, Correcting the Indiscipline on our Roads, Minimizing HIV/AIDS among road Transport workers."
Placards bearing messages such as "Drivers, respect the right of other road users", "Fatigue Kills", "Drivers, observe your mandatory rest stops," and "HIV/AIDS has no known cure, do not contract it" were used to create awareness on the need to ensure road safety. Mr Asamoah noted that between January and June 2007, 744 people were killed and 4,904 sustained various degrees of injuries from road accidents.
"A more detailed analysis of the road accidents statistics shows that 42 per cent of persons killed annually were pedestrians. Over 60 per cent are in the economically active age group of 18-55 years and 70 per cent are men."
He said the statistics showed that speeding was the major cause of road accidents, accounting for over 50 per cent of reported cases. A significant number of accidents (16 per cent) occurs on Fridays and Sundays while April and December also register the highest occurrences.
"A critical look at the causes of these accidents show that they were primarily due to the responsibility of drivers, impatience, gross disregard for human life, wrong parking, over speeding, drunk-driving, overloading and poor state of vehicles," Mr Asamoah added. He therefore called on all transport unions to organise themselves well, bring on board floating drivers and standardize their working conditions to prevent reckless practices.
Mr Emmanuel Mensah, Coordinating Secretary, FTU, called on government to expedite discussions on a national transport policy to regulate activities in the sector.
He cautioned against negative attitude of drivers saying most of these negative behaviours by the bad nuts in the driving profession, often caused a huge loss in investments made by transport companies, owners and individuals.