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Opinions of Thursday, 31 October 2013

Columnist: Wondoh, John

When Grown Men are too Afraid to Cross

The very nature of humanity dictates that men should be the head and sole protectors of families. Our history shows how men have fought valiantly to set their families free in times of war. The responsibility of men in each family notwithstanding the tribe, race or nationality is protection and providence. However, when a situation is observed to be very dangerous and deadly, it would be a wise thing for a man to put down bravery and put on cowardice for the sake of survival. Some of these situations include fighting a lion or a bear, jumping off a cliff and quite recently, crossing the road.

Crossing the road has become a very dangerous act, one that can ultimately end one’s life or put one in a very unproductive condition. The risk of one getting into a road accident on our street is increasing daily. The rules for ensuring safety on our streets are broken every day and very little is done about it, putting the lives of so many people at risk. The road is not only unsafe to pedestrians but to all road user.

It is rather unfortunate how we treasure so many things but put very little value on human life while we neglect the important things. Human resource is the greatest resource any country or organisation can ever have. We possess both the ability to build and the power to destroy, and these powers, if properly harnessed can catapult the nation to a realm of immense development and growth. But how can we achieve this if this resource which we so cherish, keeps dying off without effectively impacting the nation?

The causes of these deaths must be properly investigated and scrutinised and the necessary actions implemented to ensure the safety of Ghanaians. One of the major causes of death undoubtedly is road accident. There is a saying that ‘accidents do not happen, they are caused’. Thus, finding the causes of accidents and properly addressing them can easily palliate the current situation.

It has become evident that most Ghanaians do not have any regard for road safety signs and the only way we can enforce safety on our roads is to use drastic measures. The situation is even worse during long journeys. Most of our roads pass through villages and small communities thus requiring drivers to slow down when approaching such communities. Not slowing down can pose a threat to the lives of the people living in the community. Road signs are usually ignored by most drivers thus making it unnecessarily risky for other road users in these communities.

Since security personnel are not always available to ensure that road users observe safety rules, other measures must be put in place to reduce accidents in such places. Most communities take matters into their own hands by constructing speed rumps to forcefully slow down vehicles plying these routes. However, since these speed rumps are not constructed by the appropriate bodies, it rather increases the risk of the occurrence of accidents. Instead of waiting for community members to take matters into their own hands, it would be wise if the Road Safety Commission ensures the constructions of these rumps.

Also, the issues of unlicensed drivers, underage drivers, drunk drivers among other unethicalconducts by drivers plying our streets have raised the eyebrows of many Ghanaians. These conducts poses a potential threat to the safety and security of road users. Although the law prohibits these actions, the implementation of the laws have been an issue of great concern. Whereas the security agencies blame it on limited personnel and low public cooperation, civilians tend to disagree. They blame these agencies for not adequately and effectively dispatching their duties, resulting in the chaos often witnessed on our streets.

Notwithstanding who is to blame, drastic measures must be put in place to effectively reduce these misconducts on our streets. These drastic measures cannot be put in place as long as the bodies responsible for ensuring safety on our streets remain ineffective, inept and prone to bribery and corruption. Also, the indifference of most citizens towards matters of safety and security is a contributing factor to road accidents. People should be ready to report acts that pose threats to road safety. Ensuring that the occurrence of road accidents is mitigated should not be a duty left for just a particular body but all citizens of this nation

John Wondoh johnwondoh@yahoo.com