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Opinions of Thursday, 16 March 2017

Columnist: Alhassan Bawah

Curbing the ‘murder’ on Ghana roads!

By: Alhassan Bawah

A plethora of factors were identified as being responsible in one way or the other for the ‘murder’ on Ghana roads under a series of publications titled, ‘the murder on Ghana roads’, whose fault? These included, but not limited to, a lack of proper and adequate supervision of the transport sector by the DVLA and its sister institutions such as the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), the lackadaisical approach by the MTTD of the Ghana Police Service to traffic management, the nature of our roads, the unreasonable road or directional signs, defective vehicles, ignorance, etc.

The ignorance exhibited by a majority of the motoring public is amazing in Ghana. It is a common sight to see motorists at fuel stations filling their fuel tanks way beyond the manufacturer’s recommended fuel intake. For safety reasons, some space ought to be left in every vehicle’s fuel tank after refuelling to prevent the vehicle from catching fire resulting from the fuel tank exploding. However, at filling stations in our part of the world, vehicles are tilted to the opposite side of the tank to enable more fuel intake, as if that is the ‘last supper’ being sold. This is ignorance at its best! This is not right and must be stopped. Fuel stations must be penalised when caught filling motorists’ fuel tanks beyond the manufacturer’s recommended fuel intake.

Another commonly seen ignorant behaviour on our roads is the use of cab walk lights and construction/farm lights by heavy duty trucks. The cab walk light, located in between the unit (articulator head) and the trailer, is supposed to be used only at night for visibility purposes when a trailer is being coupled (joining the unit to the trailer) or being uncoupled (detaching the unit from the trailer). The construction/farm lights, as the name suggests, is for use only at construction sites or on farms, at night.

The construction/farm lights are headlights fitted to the rear top of the unit, just like the front headlights. These are not supposed to be switched on when driving on public roads at all times. These rear pointing lights, blinds the motorists behind such vehicles, thereby making driving very difficult. The Police appear to be ignorant as well with regards to the use of these lights. On several occasions, the Police personnel stand by the roadside staring into empty space whilst trucks drive past with these ‘killer’ lights on. This must not be permitted.

The issue of containers falling off trucks on the roads is a disgrace to this country. All containers come with specially designed holes at all the four corners for twist locks. The twist locks are supposed to be fitted to the flatbed, so that as soon as a container is picked up, they are twisted to lock it in. On the other hand, a strap is meant to hold load inside the truck, for example, pulled across crates of tomatoes inside the lorry to stop the load from falling over whilst the vehicle is in motion, and not to hold a container to a flatbed truck whether laden or unladen as the norm in Ghana. The use of twist locks ought to be enforced. The use of straps to hold containers onto flatbeds must be banned as a matter of urgency.

Furthermore, the use of hazard lights (double traffic indicators) for other ‘stupid’ purposes other than when stationary and put on to warn other motorists of a hazard, must attract severe sanctions, including spending time behind bars. When hazard lights are used for the sake of weaving through stationary traffic, and other illegal purposes, other motorists can no longer be given prior warning via a signal/indicator of the intention of the motorists displaying the hazard lights. Whether the motorists displaying the hazard lights is turning left or right, is known to him only. Some so-called educated people are guilty of this flagrant abuse of traffic indicators.

To be continued!

Alhassan Salifu Bawah Lecturer and Social Commentator saliba101@yahoo.com