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Opinions of Friday, 4 August 2017

Columnist: King David Dzirasah

Any Ghanaian who is against the Compulsary Towing Levy must beg God for forgiveness

The annual mandatory towing levy law which was passed in 2012 with a five year grace period has become a matter of great public discontent.

Various stakeholders have come out to kicked against the law leading to its temporary suspension. However, as of 1st August 2017, the chairman for Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament Mr. Samuel Aye Paye came out with a recommendation of the committee which has cleared the way for the implementation of the law.

It is expected to kick-start in September.

According to the chairman, the reason the committee found it necessary for the law to be implemented is as a result of potential judgement debt with could arise if the contract with the company responsible for the towing is abrogated.

However the chairman has woefully failed to confront Ghanaians with the reality on the ground.

There are CSOs, individuals, political parties and transport unions that have come out to express their aversion to the current state of the law and have vowed to demonstrate against it. They have however failed to do serious retrospective contemplation on the history of road accidents in the country.

Below are figures on road accident from 2012 to 2016

Road accident in Ghana
11,378
9,904
13,133
14,390
14,914

Fatal casualties
2,198
1,634
1,856
2096
2,294

Year
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012


The above figures show that the carnage on our roads is alarmingly on the high side. With this fact in mind, some Ghanaians have still callously kicked against prudent interventions meant to change the narrative. The Road Traffic Act, 2004 (Act 683) and other laws compel drivers and passengers in Ghana to wear seatbelt.

Studies have shown that seatbelts reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45% and risk of moderate critical injury by 50%. Yet with this fact in mind, Ghanaians drivers refuse to make sure that they have functional seatbelts in their cars and passengers also refuse to wear seatbelts. Unfortunately, the Ghana Police service has failed in ensuring that passengers have their seatbelts on.

In 2014 DVLA came out with a directive demanding that all commercial buses have seatbelts for passengers. GPRTU shamelessly came out to kick against the directive. They claimed that it was too costly for their members to acquire seatbelts hence they would not follow the directive. They subsequently went on strike which pressured DVLA to retract the directive.

What this means is that 50% of lives lost on the roads from 2014 up to now are the consequences of the greedy nature of some section of the Ghanaian public. We seem to value money more than lives in this country.

Where were all the CSOs, individuals, political parties that are saying “Yentua” to the annual compulsory levy when GPRTU was kicking against DVLA’s directive for them to install seatbelts in their cars in 2014. It would not be surprised to find out that they might have been secretly supporting GPRTU in their fight against the directive.

The same attitude they putting on now is the same attitude displayed by GPRTU in 2014. Absolutely no amount of sacrifice, money, stakeholder consultations can ever justice the loss of lives that can be saved if the law is implemented.

The government must go all out to implement the law without any reservation. Any person who seeks to oppose this law must be arrested, prosecuted and dealt with. They will definitely have to explain to posterity why they allowed blood to flow on our roads.

Saving the lives of our brothers and sisters is a compulsory responsibility for all of us. If car insurance is compulsory for every driver even though accidents not all drivers get involve in accident frequently, then there is no need to fight this levy.