THE recent spate of road accidents in the Central and Western regions has been blamed largely on drivers of “floating” vehicles who it is alleged, cause about 60 per cent of the accidents.
Floating vehicles are passenger vehicles which do not load at specific lorry stations but go about picking passengers as they drive along the routes.
Thomas Bismark Boakye, Western and Central Regoinal Co-ordinator of the National Road Safety Commission, told the Times in an interview at Takoradi at the weekend that drivers of the floating vehicles, in their haste to get passengers, resort to speeding and wrongful overtaking resulting in accidents and loss of lives.
Such drivers, he explained, do not belong to any of the recognized drivers' unions and are, therefore, not covered by their rules.
Besides, some of them are not qualified and lack the courage and experience to drive safely to long distances.
Mr Boakye said that of the 162 accidents recorded in the two regions between January and May this year, most of vehicles involved were floating vehicles in which 13 people lost their lives and 22 others got seriously injured. Fifteen pedestrians, including five school children were knocked down.
Mr. Boakye said the Road Safety Commission in conjunction with the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU), City and GPRTU Guards have tried in vain to ensure that the floating vehicles load at the lorry stations.
He therefore advised passengers to board vehicles only at the lorry stations for their own safety and that of their luggage.
Maxwell Amoako Danquah, First Trustee of the Takoradi main branch, corroborating Mr. Boakye's observations, said the major problem facing the GPRTU is the so-called floating vehicles whose activities pose a risk to the traveling public and bring the image of the transport industry into disrepute.
Mr. Danquah said unlike drivers who operate on their own, those operating under the umbrella of the GPRTU are disciplined because they are covered by rules which make them drive cautiously. In addition, regular refresher courses are organized for them.
Further, he said, vehicles that are loaded at the lorry stations are thoroughly examined to ensure their road worthiness.