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Regional News of Thursday, 17 July 2014

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Reckless driving poses danger to road users


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Anyone who travels on the Kasoa-Cape Coast road will not be surprised why the Central Region is adjudged the worst when it comes to road accidents in the country.

In fact, the attitude of drivers and the various drivers’ unions contribute significantly to the menace of road mishaps in the region, which is noted for its tourism attractions.

Many of the road accidents in the region can be blamed on impatience and indiscipline on the part of drivers and unreliable union executives.

On that stretch of road alone, right from Kasoa through Mankessim to Cape Coast, one can count more than 30 lorry stations. All one needs to run a lorry station and a union to boot is to have a kiosk and you are in business.

It is the reason for the many transport stations from Kasoa to Cape Coast.

However, the law enforcement agencies seem to be looking on unconcerned.

With a piece of paper, a rubber stamp and a few able-bodied men shouting “Winneba, Mankessim, Cape Coast, Takoradi”, the new station is bound to attract passengers.

This unco-ordinated situation breeds indiscipline and contributes greatly to the region’s increasing road accidents.

An even more embarrassing situation is the presence of peddlars of herbal medicines and itinerant preachers on buses travelling the distance and who show disregard for the law banning their activities on commercial vehicles.

Some of the preachers on the long distance buses refer to themselves as “prophets, evangelist, seers and pastors” and really conduct services, making all kinds of “noise” without regard for the feelings of passengers.

If anyone should dare to draw the attention of the “preachers” to the disturbance they are creating, the one is branded an anti-Christ or agent of Satan who is trying to block the word of God from reaching his children.

Statistics

In the third quarter of 2013, there were 286 road accidents involving 443 vehicles that were recorded in the region. The accidents resulted in 52 deaths and left 456 persons with injuries.

According to the Central Regional Director of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), Mr Stephen Anokye, the Central Region is currently leading in the death of pedestrians knocked down by vehicles.

Mr Anokye said the national statistics on pedestrian deaths through road accidents in the Central Region stood at 49.5 per cent.

He said Kasoa, Mankessim and Cape Coast were the key areas in the region where most of the cases occurred due to trading activities on road pavements. He said the activities of traders on the pavements forced pedestrians to walk on the roads and in the process, compete with drivers for space.

“In Ghana, we do not enforce our laws; we do not pay attention to law enforcement and road safety issues”, he said.

Age group involved in accidents

He expressed worry and regret over the fact that victims who died or sustained injuries through road accidents in the region were mainly of the active workforce of the country’s members.

That, he said, had negative impact on the country’s economic fortunes.

“Every country’s workforce depended on its youthful age group and it is too bad that accidents are claiming the lives of people between 18 and 50 years,” he said.

Available statistics from the Central Regional Road Safety Commission indicate that 41 per cent of the deaths recorded on knock-downs were people between the ages of zero and 25, while 40 per cent were within the 26-45 age bracket. He said 19 per cent of the victims were between 46 and 65 years.

Social impacts

Out of the number of people who die through accidents in Ghana, 73 per cent are male, 23 per cent female,and four per cent children.

This means the country stands to lose 1.6 per cent of its GDP through accidents.

In Ghana, many families depend on the male for their livelihood and so when accidents take away the lives of men, it impacts heavily on women who will be widowed, and many children will be made to drop out of school as a consequence.

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