The National Road Safety Commission has intensified road safety education and advocacy among political parties and supporters as well as other stakeholders on the need to adopt safe road use practices before, during and after the election.
To this end the Commission is collaborating with the police to conduct outreach programmes on the need for road users to comply with road regulations.
Mr Daniel H. Wuaku, Brong-Ahafo Regional Manager of the Commission said this at a press conference on Tuesday, in Sunyani at the launch of this year's Road Safety Week celebration in the Region.
The theme for the celebration is: “Ensuring accident-free elections 2008”.
He noted that overloading, human traffic, reckless driving by both drivers and motor cyclists, speeding, non-use of seat belts or crash helmets, fatigue driving, drunk driving and disrespect for other road users by jubilant political party supporters were some of the causes of road accidents during electioneering periods and reiterated the Commission's commitment to collaborate with the police in checking such practices.
“Every life lost is a potential vote lost. Over the years, elections have been challenging to road safety. Available statistics indicate a rise in crash rates during election years partly due to increased political activities.
“The focus is to engage political parties and policy makers on how to promote road safety for all,” he said.
Mr Wuaku appealed to political parties and supporters to heed the advice of the Commission and abide by traffic regulations.
He also urged party leaders to give their drivers rest times and to control their convoys.
Mr Wuaku noted that “a greater proportion of casualties and fatalities in the Region has been the tragic result of unnecessary collisions and excessive or inappropriate speed”.
He expressed the Commission's determination to educate and enforce the message about the dangers of driving at inappropriate speed.
The Regional Manager said the Commission would collaborate with Ghana Education Service, Catholic Secretariat and other sponsors to launch a campaign in the region against excessive or inappropriate speed.
Outlining details of the week's activities, Mr Wuaku said the Commission would hold meetings with religious leaders, organize road safety quizzes in schools, as well as road safety outreach programmes at selected lorry stations.
The Commission would also pay visits to mosques, churches, hold road safety discussions on FM radio stations, organize road safety walks and present items to accident victims at the Regional Hospital in Sunyani.
Giving statistics on road accidents and crash situations in the region, Assistant Superintendent of Police Paul Wesley Baah, Commander of the Regional Motor Traffic and Transport Union said a total of 215 vehicles were involved in 156 reported traffic accidents that claimed 42 lives and 249 injured persons within the third quarter of the year.
The month of August registered the highest number of fatalities with 22 persons killed in 61 crash cases, ASP Baah added.
The MTTU Commander said between January and September this year a total of 412 cases involving 530 vehicles were reported with 149 lost lives and 613 injured persons.
The statistics indicate that 17 persons got killed and 68 persons injured each month on the average, since the beginning of the year, ASP Baah said and described the situation as “very alarming and disturbing”.
The MTTU Commander attributed the increase in fatality rate to the disregard for the 50 kilometre per hour speed limit in town by drivers, as well as the failure of some motor cycle riders to wear crash helmets and seat belts.
ASP Wesley Baah warned that under the new road safety Act, persons aged 18 years and above who failed to wear seat belts would be charged, whilst drivers who did not ensure that passengers under 18 years wear the seat belt would be charged with the offence.