President John Evans Atta Mills on Thursday directed the law enforcement agencies and stakeholders in the road transport sector to adopt effective and ingenuous but legal means to force drivers to obey traffic rules to prevent the carnage that had hit Ghana's highways in recent times.
In a forthright discussion with stakeholders in the road transport sector, President Mills condemned the scourge on the roads, and called for well-coordinated efforts and skills among the stakeholders, pledging Government's support, and increase in resources to bring the carnage under check.
The President gave the direction at an emergency meeting of the stakeholders in the road traffic sector, attended by the executive of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), the Vehicle and Driver Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Motor Traffic and Transport Union (MTTU) and the Ghana Road Safety Commission.
The meeting followed a resurgence of road accidents, the latest of which occurred at on Wednesday at dawn in a tanker explosion at the Winneba Roundabout in the Central Region, in which 15 persons were reported dead and others with serious burn injuries admitted at the 37 Military Hospital. President Mills earlier in the day visited the patients and commiserated with them.
On the same day on the Accra Pokuase Road in the Greater Accra Region, four persons died on the spot in another accident.
The President told the meeting that Ghanaians were worried about the carnage that affected both road users and non road users, including those with houses and buildings along the roads.
President Mills asked: “Can we say we are building a better Ghana if the people are losing their lives?”, and charged the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Joe Gidisu, to play a leading role in the co-ordination of efforts of the stakeholders.
He said the accidents that had been occurring showed a trend of reckless driving, and added that, the Accra-Winneba Road had become a nightmare for road users.
President Mills underscored the essence of time, and stressed the need to prevent further loss of lives, since the carnage presented both economic and health problems.
Mr Gidisu observed that about 85 per cent of the accidents emanated from human error, and announced that there would soon be an audit of all accident spots in the country as a way of addressing the carnage.
He said the Ministry had directed the Ghana Highway Authority to construct speed ramps and put visible road signs on the Winneba Road.
Mr Noble Appiah, Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission, said on the average, six persons died through road traffic accidents in Ghana every day, and 65 per cent of the victims being vehicle occupants.
Some causes of the accidents, apart mechanical faults are speeding
and fatigue, he said and advised motorists to take a rest after four hours' driving.
He said despite the attribution of some accidents to spirituality,
every accident was preventable.
Mr Daniel Avorgah, Commander of the MTTU bemoaned the absence of legislation on the carriage and transport of hazardous materials as well
as the testing of fitness of vehicles at the stations before they embarked
Alhaji Eesah Tetteh, called for thorough training, with experience alongside age, before licenses were issued.
He also stressed the need for proper supervision of drivers.