The Menace Of Road Traffic Accidents Is A Mass Massacre
Incessant sustainable decision making about proper management of the road traffic accidents in the world is one of the highest essential contributions we can make to save lives and properties.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), every year the lives of more than 1.25 million folks are cut short as a consequence of the menace of road traffic crash globally.
Additionally, 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries and road traffic injury death rates are highest on the African continent including Ghana.
Road traffic accidents have become escalating concerns to most Ghanaians in contemporary times due to it negative impacts on human lives, properties, environment and the Ghana’s economy at large.
Researchers have come out with the causes like poor driving skills, drivers talking on mobile phones while driving, gross indiscipline, broken down vehicles on roads sides.
Use of worn second hand tyres, over-loading, neglecting of traffic regulations, lack of road markings, signs and maintenance whereas ways to reduce vehicular accidents were not ignored but still any avail.
The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) expressed great anxiety over the rise in the number of road crashes in November, 2016 and recorded total number of 11,378 road crashes nationwide encompassing 17,746 vehicles, of which casualties stood at 12,154 comprising of 1,990 deaths and 10,154 injuries.
Commission’s press briefing in Accra, compared with those recorded during the same period in 2015, involving the reported cases- vehicles, injuries and fatalities- showed increases of 14.88 per cent, 14.45 per cent, 33.74 per cent and 20.19 per cent respectively.
In 2017, according to (NRSC) about 708 persons died from 4,049 road accidents as at April, 3,983 persons sustained various degrees of injury with 1,199 pedestrian knockdowns involving 6,468 vehicles and 1,289 motorbikes.
Road accidents makes innocent people compulsory disabled and put others in poverty and death prematurely.
We cannot in any circumstances, just forget the incident of Ghanaian talented young popular artist Pricilla Opoku-Kwarteng popularly known as ‘Ebony’ and the two others that occurred recently on Mankraso stretch of the Kumasi- Sunyani road.
Moreover, as a country, we should not talk about road accidents only and when it happens and especially involved with important personalities alone and soon after go to sleep.
However, everyone who dies in road traffic accidents in Ghana, the family and other relatives are affected; one way or the other either permanently or temporarily.
This has turned the success, the aspirations, and progress of certain kinfolks down; some children have stopped schooling due to lack of sponsorship because the life of some of the parents have taken away prematurely by road accidents.
These losses arise from the cost of treatment and productivity for those killed or disabled by their injuries, and for family members who take time off work or school to care for the injured.
Road traffic crashes cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product.
However, it is currently estimated by the (WHO) that road traffic crashes will be the 3rd leading cause of death worldwide by the year 2020 if rigorous actions are not taken.
In Ghana while road accident is in increased, preemptive measures should be taken by all stakeholders since it has been a share responsibility and public health concern to reduce the menace.
There should also be formulation of road policies and enforcement of road safety laws, rules and regulations in speed managements by creating low-speed zones in urban settings, setting speed limits according to road type; austerely enforce drink-driving and the wearing of requisite helmets, and incessant use of seat-belts inter alia.
According to( WHO) Director General Dr. Margaret Chan, 2013 “Political will is needed at the highest level of government to ensure appropriate road safety legislation and strict enforcement of laws by which we all need to abide. If this cannot be ensured, families and communities will continue to grieve, and health systems will continue to bear the brunt of injury and disability due to road traffic crashes.”
Good data collection systems help to paint realistic picture of the magnitude of a problem and provide a basis for better road safety policies and allow assessment of the efficiency of policies and programmes.
Therefore, there should also be availability of accurate and reliable qualitative and quantitative data to know who dies, where and how as well as information about risk factors.
The National Road Safety Commission should embark on incessant vigorous road safety campaigns which necessitate joint stakeholder collaborative efforts to educate all road users on the need to abide all road regulations.
Ghana Highways Authority and Department of Urban Roads should intensify their responsibilities for maintaining and rehabilitate all bad roads.
Ghana Police Service (MTTU) should be well equipped and motivated to check, arrest and prosecute all careless drivers and passengers who commit road regulations.
Road accidents are painful and detrimental irrespective of how, when, where and whom it occur to and therefore, befits to all and sundry to join the campaign to reduce the carnage on our roads.
By: Abraham Frank Eshun
The writer is a Journalist and Communication Consultant.