NSRC launches road safety week for crash-free elections
The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) on Monday braced itself up for the election euphoria as it launched this year's Road Safety Week purposely to ensure a crash free election.
The safety week would, on Saturday be climaxed with a walk involving all the political parties, after which President John Agyekum Kufuor would make a statement calling for the parties' support in this direction.
Every election year had witnessed an increase in road accidents as a result of disregard for safety regulations during campaign trips and the jubilations for victory after the election.
The NRSC expects political parties to demonstrate commitment through their actions and pronouncements on political platforms and to clearly declare their strategic vision for road safety, Mr Noble John Appiah, Executive Director, NRSC, said in Accra.
He said making Ghana the safest road transportation country remained the vision of the NRSC and expressed the hope that with collective support of stakeholders, this feat could be achieved.
"Road safety is a shared responsibility. All must be seen playing their part in the areas of advocacy, resource mobilisation and demanding road safety from politicians, policy makers and statutory agencies," Mr Appiah added.
Mr Magnus Opare Asamoah, Deputy Minister of Transportation, said government was not happy with the road safety situation in the country, adding it deprived the economy of 1.6 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2006, an estimated amount of over 160 million dollars.
About 2,655 road crashes involving 4,380 vehicles which had accounted for 346 deaths and 2,182 injuries have been recorded for the third quarter of the year.
At least four persons lose their lives daily due to road casualties and about 1,600 die annually with 8,000 others suffering serious injuries.
The Deputy Minister said although the figures were not encouraging, Ghana was not the third accident-prone country in the world as reported.
"Our fatality records rank favourably to Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, Uganda and Sierra Leone that record a fatality rate of 26, 111, 35, 42, 52, 105 and 29 deaths per 10,000 vehicles in that order," Mr Asamoah noted.
The NRSC, he pointed out, was therefore working to reduce the road fatality rate to a single digit by 2015, as pertaining in countries such as Sweden and Denmark.
Miss Ghana 2008, Ms Mawusi Appiah, who is also an Ambassador for Road Safety, advised drivers: "Do not set death traps for yourselves, wear seat belts, don't use mobile phones whilst driving and do all you can to prolong your lives.”
The week would include a forum for religious leaders and other outreach programmes.