Regional News of Monday, 18 June 2012

Source: GNA

Road safety is a personal and community activity-Noble Appiah

The Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission(NRSC), Mr. Noble Appiah, has called on all road users to join hands in curbing road accidents.

He explained that, ensuring safety on the roads requires that the thoughts and deeds of all road users including communities and the educational institutions are coordinated and enhanced warning that the failure of each of the agents could lead to an accident.

Mr. Appiah was speaking at a stakeholders’ forum organised by the NRSC for all road users at Koforidua at the weekend.

He said despite the increase in the publication of road accidents these days, statistics indicate that the number of road accidents and casualties involved had been reducing since the year 2000.

Mr. Appiah said Ghana’s efforts in managing road accidents had been recognized by the United Nations and so Ghana had been selected as a model for Africa and other countries would be coming to Ghana to study the strategies being put in place to manage road accidents in the country.

Mr. Rudolph Berkley, Deputy Director in-charge of Evaluation and Planning at the NRSC, said Ghana loses 418 million US Dollars annually through road accidents alone.

He said such amount could provide the country many development projects if the strategies put in place to improve road safety in the country is followed and supported by all.

Mr. Berkley said, high road accidents in the country could discourage investors from investing in the country and also discourage tourists from visiting the country if they could not be assured of their safety on the roads of the country.

He said, the national Road Safety Strategy three which is in place now is to ensure that road accidents is reduced by 50 per cent by 2015 and fatalities on the road is also reduced by 50 per cent by 2020.

He explained that, one of the main difference between the current road safety strategy three and other road safety strategies is that, it has a component that ensures compliance of the key places in road safety.

The Eastern Regional Director of the NRSC, Mr. Tibo Yirenkyi, said the high growth of weeds along the shoulders of the Mamfi-Koforidua highway is dangerous to road safety and needed to be cleared regularly.

However, officials of the Ghana Highway Authority at the forum insisted that, because of budgetary constraints, the weeds could not be cleared regularly but had to follow a plan and rather urged motorists on the road to drive cautiously.

Mr. Yirenkyi advised people building along the Mamfe-Koforidua highway and along the Oyoko-Tafo-Bunso stretch to leave sufficient distance between their gates and the main road so that they would not have to reverse into the main road or park on the main road and wait for their gates to be opened which is dangerous to motor traffic.

He said research had indicated that, many people do not die from road accidents but the way that the wounded after the accidents are handled is the cause of the high fatalities in road accidents.

He said his outfit was therefore collaborating with the Ghana Red Cross Society to train people in communities in areas regarded as hot spots in the region in the handling of road accident victims.

Mr. Yirenkye further stated that the region has also started the training of fitting mechanics to be road safety conscious so that when people bring their vehicles for repairs, they would be in the position to maintain the vehicle properly and ensure that vehicle owners also put in efforts to ensure their vehicles are road worthy.

Chief Superintendent Safo Peprah, Eastern Regional Commander of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit of the Ghana Police Service who chaired the function, urged the stakeholders to put into practice all that they have learnt and not to leave it for only the Road Safety Commission members.**