Politics of Thursday, 21 June 2012

Source: GNA

Road crashes should be of paramount concern to all - NRSC

Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, Director, Planning and Programme, National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), has said it is important for politicians to recognise that road crashes and injuries were major health problems for the society.

She said the leadership of political parties must assume the role of front line enforcers of road traffic regulations and serve as role models for their supporters to emulate.

Addressing a meeting between the NRSC and representatives of political parties in Accra, Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said politicians must make pronouncement on road safety on campaign platforms, manifestos, policies and follow it up with good examples to raise awareness enormously.

She said the NRSC had developed a code for political parties to follow during Election 2012 and that vehicles, drivers, transportation of party supporters, are issues to be issues to be considered during the campaign.

Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said leadership of political parties must ensure that vehicles to be used for campaign were inspected prior to every journey, insurance and road worthy certificates and driving license must be valid and both inward and outward journey must be planned with respect of time to set off and rest stops.

In addition, she said they must ensure avoiding driving at night, and if any journey should be embarked at night, drivers must be prevailed upon to reduce speed, be alert, observant and must be fit for the journey.

She said political parties must appoint responsible persons as champions to drive and implement the code, saying they must ensure that issues relating to the vehicle, transportation of supporters to rallies and campaign sites, and monitoring of drivers were complied with.

Mr. David Osafo-Adonteng, Director of Research Monitoring and Evaluation- NRSC, said the meeting was to interact with political parties to find how best road crashes could be reduced in the electioneering process before, during and after Election 2012.

He said in 2004 and 2008 which were all election years, the level of road crashes increased massively, and it was important to start a dialogue with political parties to have a reduction in road crashes come December.

Mr. Osafo-Adonteng said lack of structures for proper training and development, poor working conditions, limited technical capacity to enforce standards and regulations, limited road engineers, planners and contractors were the major factors affecting road safety in the country.

He said political parties could play a major role in ensuring that road crashes reduced drastically and stressed the need to endeavor to reduce road crashes to 1,500 by 2015 and less than 1,000 by 2020.

Mr. Osafo-Adonteng said the NRSC had developed its third National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, to help revise road safety regulations, develop operational standards for commercial transport users and regulate speed.

He said as a country, it was important to re-strategise and move on to reduce road crashes; within the next two months the NRSC would install the first vehicle speed cameras to monitor and check road offences across the country.

Mr. Osafo-Adonteng urged politicians to come together and ensure that Election 2012 would be devoid of road crashes.**