Consumption of energy drinks by drivers to keep them stay energetic for long-distance travels affects their sense of judgment and ability to drive, Mr. Tonny Dickson Afriford, Executive Director of the Global Road Safety Media Foundation has revealed.
He, therefore, cautioned drivers against the consumption of energy drinks especially, those who embark on long-distance journeys as it has some negative effects on their ability to drive and contributes to road traffic crashes.
He gave the caution during the analysis of January to June provisional road crash data from the National Road Safety Commission Authority (NRSA) at the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office, and Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) Road Safety Campaign Platform, which was monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema.
The road safety campaign platform seeks to use prominent persons to provide continuous education on the need to be safe on the roads and reduce road carnage.
Mr. Afriford, who is also a road crash analyst said “large and consistent consumption of energy drinks is having an effect on road safety, there is the wrong notion among the commercial drivers that these energy drinks boost their system to drive for long hours without getting tired.
“We need to get the source of their information, as some who have abused energy drinks have now graduated to the use of other substances such as mixing tramadol with drinks, inhaling petrol, or super glue to stay high and awake to drive.”
He called on the NRSA and other stakeholders to collaborate with the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) to sensitize drivers, especially commercial long distance drivers on the effect of consuming caffeinated drinks for driving.
Mr Afriford also admonished vehicle owners against giving outrageous sales targets to their drivers as some used it as an excuse to drive even when they were tired adding that road crash data has shown that fatigue was one of the major causes of crashes.
He further said drivers who were under pressure from their bosses, would also engage in speed and other reckless driving which would not only led to a surge in crashes but would also have economic implications on both the driver, vehicle owner, and the country.
He noted that for safety on the roads, every driver is expected to rest for at least 30 minutes after every four hours of driving, adding that drivers however develop the false confidence to drive for long hours without resting after taking such energy drinks which contain caffeine.
The NRSA in a provisional report for January to June 2022, indicated that Ghana recorded a decrease in reported road crashes as compared to that of 2021.
The data showed that a total of 7,687 were documented by the NRSA for the first quarter of 2022 as compared to the 8,188 seen in 2021 for the same period.
The data also indicates that a reduction of 401 representing 6.12 percent was documented by the NRSA.
According to the Authority, a total of 13,248 vehicles were involved in the 2022 crashes which led to the death of 1,300 persons as compared to the 2021’s 13,973 vehicles and 1,454 persons killed.
The data also showed a 2.33 per cent reduction in the number of persons who got injured as a total of 7,997 and 8,188 injuries were recorded respectively in the first half of 2022 and 2021.