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07.05.2008 Politics

Political Parties Pledge To Enforce Road Safety Code

By Salifu Abdul Hahaman and Ida T. Nakaar -
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Political parties have affirmed their commitment to a draft road safety code developed by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) to guide them before, during and after the December 2008 general elections.

The affirmation was at a forum organised by the commission yesterday to dialogue with the parties on how to implement the code effectively to reduce road accidents during the elections.

Parties represented were the New Patriotic Party (NPP) the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the People’s National Convention (PNC), the EGLE Party (EP), Ghana National Party (GNP), the Reformed Patriotic Democratic (RPD), the United Renaissance Party (URP) and the Democratic People’s Party (DPP).

The draft code regulations area like preparing for a journey, maintenance of vehicles, driver’s conduct and driving in a convoy.

Other areas are how to travel at night, how to transport party supporters’ appointment of officers to implement the code and check list.

The Executive Director of the NRSC, Noble Appiah, said road traffic crashes during elections keep rising yearly.

'We know from statistics in 2000 and 2004, road traffic crashes (accidents) rose from 8,762 in 1999 to 11,007 in 2000 to 10,542 in 2003 and to 12,175 in 2004,' he said.

Mr. Appiah said in 2000 and 2004, more than 3,000 people died in road traffic crashes in the country.

'This, therefore, suggest that we could witness an increase in traffic crashes in this election year if adequate and cost effective measures are not put in place,' he said.

'The leadership of political parties can be effective instruments in road safety efforts particularly during the election campaign,' he added.

Mr Appiah urged all political parties to support the implementation of the code so that it does not become a mere document.

'One of the challenges we face as a country is lack of commitment and dedication in implementing programmes and activities,' he said.

Giving further statistics, Rudolf Beckley, Manager, Research, statistics, information and technology of the commission, said road traffic crashes cost the nation 1.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, (GDP) translating into 165 million United States dollars.

He said about 1,600 people die annually in the country through road accidents with 42 per cent of the totalities involving pedestrians adding that 70 per cent of the totalities involve mates.

Saying that 60 per cent of accidents are as a result of over speeding, he added that Ashanti, Eastern, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions account for 50 per cent of road accidents in the country.

He said, 'Apathy and indifference seen to be fairly universal attitudes towards the rising figures of road crashes and we appear to accept road crashes as a phenomenon, an ordinary hazard in our daily lives.'

Kofi Wayo of URP, spoke on the need to train more security personnel to check road traffic.

Alhaji Huudu Yahaya of the NDC expressed the need to fast track prosecution of road traffic offenders besides intensified inspection on vehicles.

Francis Kyei of the RPD emphasised on collaboration between the NRSC and road contractors to ensure safe road construction.

Francis Kyei of the RPD emphasised on collaboration between the NRSC and road contractors to ensure safe road construction.

Charles Wiredu of the NRP urged political parties to register and insure their vehicles.

Emmanuel Wilson Jnr. Of the PNC called for measures to be taken to check reckless driving by political parties during the electioneering campaign.

Eric Sarpong of the GNP suggested that radio stations be made to broadcast road safety messages on their network every morning to educate the public.

John Amekah of the DFP urged the NRSC to intensify its education campaign at the junior high school noting that some of them drop-out to lake to driving.

The Chairman of the commission, Cliff Johnson Aboagye, commended the political parties saying 'this is the time for you to show concern on road safety among your supporters.

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