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General News of Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Source: GNA

Single digit of road traffic accidents by 2015

Accra, Feb. 26, GNA - Ghana's National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) is aiming at reducing fatality rate of road traffic accidents from 22 deaths per 10,000 vehicles to a single digit of 3 deaths per 10,000 vehicles by 2015.

It is also aiming at making Ghana's road transportation system the safest in Africa, as has been the situation in the developed countries. Mr. David Osafo Adonteng, a deputy Director in charge of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation said this when a two-member delegation from the Road Safety Department in Lesotho paid a working visit to the Commission in Accra on Tuesday.

The team, which will be in the country for three days would be visiting the Drivers Vehicle and Licensing Authority, Ghana Highways Authority and visit other transport agencies in the Country. The team is here to learn from the success stories of NRSC and the structures put in place in ensuring reduction in road traffic accidents fatalities.

Mr. Adonteng refuted rumours that Ghana ranked second in road traffic accident on the world making the country unsafe and said Africa alone recorded 67 with Tanzania recording 43.3 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles.

"Ghana is recording a little over 1000 fatalities but we still do consider these figures alarming and wants to be hitting single digits just like the developed countries where single digits are being recorded".

Giving the road traffic accident situation in Ghana, Mr Adonteng said Ghana in 2000 recorded 1,578 road traffic fatalities, 1,660 in 2001, 1,665 in 2003, but rose in 2004 to 2, 185, which was an election year and declined to 1,778 in 2005 and 1,856 in 2006.

"Though there was an increase, we still consider the situation as serious that needs more attention to reduce the trend", he added. He explained that most of the people involved in the accidents were pedestrians, which recorded 42 per cent followed by bus and mini buses with 23 per cent.

People aged between 26 to 35 years were the highest hit in the road traffic accidents with people aged between 16 to 25 recording 18 per cent and 36 to 45 recording 17.1 per cent. He described these age groups as the youth whom the future of the nation depended and called for interventions to protect them.

Annual distribution by sex from 2000 to 2006 had males recording the highest and attributed that to the fact they were more exposed road accidents than their female counterparts.

Ashanti Region recorded the highest of the road accidents followed by Eastern, Greater Accra and Central regions with 22 per cent, 17 per cent 14 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

Child pedestrians were not left off the road traffic fatalities and recorded 80 per cent, whilst bus and mini bus accidents recorded about 15 per cent mostly recorded between 1600 and 1800 hours. "This indicates that the accidents occurred when these children had closed from school and probably waiting for the parents and guardians to pick them home".

Mr. Adonteng noted that, the Commission was faced with numerous challenges such as the incidence of over-speeding, deficiencies in vehicle fitness, unsafe driving, insufficient law enforcement, consistent increase in vehicle fleet, fatigue driving and the influence of alcohol but had to address them by establishing a traffic and transport system that would be safer and convenient for pedestrians and public passenger fleet operation.

He said 12,000 persons could be killed and more than 40,000 persons injured if extensive efforts were not put in place to address the situation with the increase of vehicle population to 1.2 million. Mr. Adonteng called on stakeholders to intensify efforts in areas such as increase in the use of seatbelts and crash helmets, campaign against the use of mobile phones whilst driving and road safety education for children.

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