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General News of Saturday, 23 March 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

‘Fastrack our upgrade to Authority status to curb road accidents’ – Road Safety Commission

The National Road Safety Commission ( NRSC) is asking the government to speed up processes to give it an Authority status.

The Commission says although giant steps have been taken towards the move, the government should not rest on its oars to give it more power to enforce road traffic regulations.

The plea comes on the heels of Friday’s gory accidents in Kintampo and Ekumfi-Dunkwa that jointly claimed about 70 lives.

Kwame Kodua Atuahene, the Head of Communications of the NRSC on Eyewitness News, bemoaned the Commission’s current lack of the power to enforce road safety regulations insisting that the government should elevate the Commission to deal with the non-compliance of road safety standards.

“Three months ago Cabinet gave the approval for the Commission to be transformed into an Authority. The law is already at the Attorney General Department. I imagine that in the coming weeks it is presented to Parliament for the other processes to take place. It is to say that, government must hasten this process. They should have the will to assist in implementation of some of these interventions.”

“In the last year, matters of safety have been met with some level of resistance. Sometimes in your bid to do what is needful for the public good, this resistance goes ahead to affect your good intentions. So the expectation is for the government to buy into these ideas beyond its commitment to transform the Commission into an Authority. It will be required that will to support the implementation of these measures are also brought to the fore, he stressed.

Many believe that the increasing spate of road accidents in the country is because agencies such as the NRSC are not well resourced.

Since its creation, the National Road Safety Commission [NRSC], has been acting in an advisory capacity.

But when given an Authority status, it would now be able to issue sanctions for road traffic offences.

Road Safety Commission to be empowered with Authority status

In 2018, Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah announced that the Commission is to be elevated to an Authority.

“What Cabinet has done is to enhance the mandate of the National Road Safety Commission. So cabinet has given approval for the National Road Safety Commission to be changed from just a Commission to an authority with an enhanced mandate of enforcing institutional infractions.”

The Bill for the expected upgrade has been drafted, and the Minister said: “I am pretty sure that the bill will come to the house before the House rises.”

“For insurance, if the Ministry for Roads and Highways constructs a road and they don’t put land markings on it, the Commission may have the mandate to come in and say that we are supposed to put landmarks. Our people are dying and the President feels that we need to strengthen all areas in terms of road safety. We have passed them into an authority. We will make sure whatever concern is there will be addressed,” Mr. Ofori Asiamah.

The National Road Safety Commission of Ghana was established by an Act of Parliament (NRSC Act 567 of 1999).

The Act mandates the NRSC to champion, promote and coordinate road safety activities in the country.

The main objective of the National Road Safety Commission is to plan, develop and promote road safety and to coordinate policies related to road safety.