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General News of Monday, 23 February 2009

Source: GNA

Stringent measures in place to check road crashes- Hammah

Accra, Feb. 23, GNA - Mr Mike Hammah, Minister of Transport, on Monday said the Ministry had put in place stringent measures to enforce the Road Traffic Act, to curb the spate of accidents on the roads. "As a first step to addressing this socially unacceptable trend, the Ministry with effect from April 6, 2009, charges all commercial vehicles to introduce log books in their vehicles to monitor the number of hours drivers use over a distance," he said.

Mr Hammah, at a stakeholders' meeting to find solutions to the accidents, charged commercial vehicles to have National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) approved reflective tapes and warning triangles to improve visibility. "The police are required to enforce these directives while the NRSC monitors its enforcement," Mr Hammah said. He said the National Road Safety Strategy II would be reviewed to reflect emerging trends. Institutional capacity, funding and legal framework within which the strategy is implemented would also be reassessed.

Mr Hammah said the introduction of speed cameras, installation of speed limiters in commercial vehicles and instant towing of disabled vehicles were some of the long-term measures to be taken to ensure road safety. On the recent crashes on some major roads, Mr Hammah noted that preliminary investigation revealed that fatigue, carelessness, poor visibility and high speed were the major causes. "As the Minister of Transport, I cannot sit down for these needless road accidents to go on." The stakeholders called for resources for the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU), training of drivers and effective collaboration between industry players to mitigate road crashes.

ACP Victor Tandoh (Rtd), former MTTU commander, advocated the training of "proper traffic police", who would be dedicated and disciplined, to manage the traffic situation. "We do not need people who want to make hay while the sun shines or a policeman who is a friend of a driver; we need men who can instil discipline into drivers and ensure sanity on our roads," he added.