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Opinions of Sunday, 27 February 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

A More Constructive Ban Must Be Re-Imposed!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

A few weeks ago, following a tragic accident in which three schoolchildren were run over by a speeding articulated truck in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) imposed a ban on heavy-duty trucks between the hours of 6pm and 10pm. We were then told that this measure was aimed at curbing the high spate of accidents involving these heavy-duty trucks and pedestrians.

Obviously, there was some merit to the ban, for between 6pm and 10pm occurs most of the rush-hour traffic. Still, such a ban would have made greater sense if it had been imposed between 6am and 10pm, for the period between 10pm and 6am witnesses the lightest of highway traffic during any twenty-four hour period and thus is best suited for heavy-duty truck usage.

And as one notable newspaper columnist and former District Chief Executive (DCE) of the local area where the aforesaid accident occurred pointed out, imposing the ban between 6pm and 10pm simply meant business as usual, since the heavy-duty vehicular carnage which appears to have actuated the ban actually occurred in broad daylight. Consequently, as the columnist rightly suggested, something far more effective has to be done about the use of our roadways by these heavy-duty truckers during the day by, for instance, remarkably restricting the use of residential roadways during the day by these articulated vehicles.
What the foregoing observation calls for is the necessity for the government to designate a few selected roadways that may be plied by heavy-duty trucks during the day, with heavy-duty vehicular traffic on the others being restricted to the stipulated hours of 10pm to 6am, But even more importantly, merely having heavy-duty trucking business proprietors and executives advice truckers to be careful with their usage of our roadways is rather lame-brained.
What needs to happen in order to render such measure more effective is to impose speed limits on both residential and non-residential roadways on all vehicles. For as was also pointed out by our notable columnist, most of the vehicles that fatally barrel over pedestrians are passenger buses, wagons and mini-buses, rather than heavy-duty trucks. And needless to say, there is even more implicated by way of legal enforcement of these speed limits. And here also, adequate policing of our transit police officers ought to be mounted by their superiors in order to drastically reduce the intolerably high incidence of bribery and corruption.
And on the preceding score, perhaps there is a need for the government to set up a special transit unit of the Ghana Police Service, or even remarkably expand the already existent Motor Traffic Unit of the Ghana Police Service. What we are talking about here vividly reminds me of the sort of massive and salutary roadway/motorist educational campaign initiated under the Acheampong-led government of the National Redemption Council (NRC) in 1974, an intensive three-month campaign that was supervised by my late maternal uncle and World War II veteran, Lt.-Col. H. H. Sintim-Aboagye.

This time around, though, what is being suggested here is a thoroughgoing motorist educational campaign that occurs throughout the year and, literally, around the clock. For in the final analysis, progressive governance is about constant vigilance and great respect for human life and property.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of “The Obama Serenades” (, 2011). E-mail: