The problem of road accidents

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3/5/2009 12:36:53 AM -

Since the beginning of this year, over 200 Ghanaians have lost their lives through fatal motor accidents. The latest one was recorded on the Accra-Winneba road last Monday, where 11 people perished after the vehicle they were travelling in ran into a stationery truck.

Most of these fatal accidents have been attributed to over speeding and wrong over taking by the drivers. As a result of these reckless behaviour by drivers on our roads, some residents living along towns and villages on the major high ways have taken the law into their own hands to check some of these irritant drivers. For example, people living along Juapong-Ho highway have dug trenches on the road to check the excessive over speeding by cars and vehicles.

Though the root cause of these accidents has not been identified, it also appears like nothing is being done by the government, civil society groups and concerned agencies to check this alarming trend. Drivers continue to speed and make wrong over taking on our highways without any hindrance. Sometimes, passengers who dare challenge these erring drivers become victims of their own colleague passengers on board the vehicle, who subject them to all kinds of verbal abuses.

The Chronicle thinks that the time has come for the government to take the bull by the horn, by taking pragmatic measures to curb some of these avoidable accidents. We do not understand, for instance, the reason why the Motor Traffic Unit (MTTU) of the Police Service should sit unconcerned when heavy trucks develop mechanical faults on our highways. These vehicles should be immediately towed away from the road, but the authorities would always stay unconcerned until an accident occurs before action is taken to remove the broken down vehicle.

If the MTTU lacks logistics support, then they should let government and the good people of this country know, so that they would not be accused of failing to live up to expectation. The Chronicle also suggests that the recent suggestion made by the Minister for Transport, Hon. Mike Hammah, that commercial vehicles travelling on highways should be given specific period to cover their journey, should be an option that should be pursued in close collaboration with the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU).

We believe that if the drivers were timed according to their schedule, they would reduce their speed on our roads to save innocent lives. Gradually, road accidents are becoming the nation's number one killer, and we should not allow this to continue. If the government is spending millions of dollars to fight the spread of the HIV virus, then it must also commit the same amount to ensure safety on our roads.

Do not kill a mosquito from your friend's forehead with a hatchet.
By: FRANCIS TAWIAH(Duisb

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