Drivers Academy in the offing
The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and its state collaborators would in the next few weeks establish a National Drivers Academy (NDA), an official of the commission said in Accra.
Mr David Osafo Adonteng, Director in charge of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the NRSC, who made the announcement, said the NDA would provide formal training to drivers under a system of professional and vocational career development designed in fulfillment of national and international standard requirement for road safety, professional ethics and competence.
He made the announcement at the launch of a training programme being organised by MTN Ghana, the leading mobile operator in Ghana, for 125 of its staff members and drivers across the country in batches of 15.
The yearly training programme, dubbed: “Defensive Driving Training” for staff of MTN nationwide, was under the theme “Saving Lives and Property; whilst reducing cost and preventing casualties on our roads”.
Mr Adonteng noted that drivers were at the centre of the question of road safety, saying that road accident statistics in Ghana indicated that driver error contribution ranked highest in the cause of road accidents.
He observed that drivers' attitude on roads was characterised by aggression, impatience, which reflected in over-speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, fatigue, wrong overtaking, and disrespect for traffic laws and for other road users.
“We believe that drivers are professionals and for that matter they deserve all what professionals possess – recognition, training and better condition of service to ensure that they play their role in road safety campaign effectively,” he said.
He urged drivers to be conscious of their road safety regulations and to commit themselves to the application of the knowledge acquired in defensive and responsible driving.
Mr Adonteng took the opportunity to appeal to MTN to include road safety in their social responsibility activities by sponsoring the NRSC's road safety programmes on radio.
Available statistics at the NRSC indicated that the country spends about GH¢165,000, representing 1.6 per cent of GDP on road accidents every year, which affects the economic progress of the country.
Mr Samuel Koomson, Fleet and Transport Manager of MTN said the company believed that in order to reduce the carnage on the roads it was necessary to refresh the skills and knowledge of drivers annually, and to introduce drivers to new technologies and regulations regarding road safety mechanisms.
“MTN has consistently reduced vehicular accident rate from an average of eight to four between 2004 and now through training of our staff and we shall continue to train our staff to have a zero accident record on our roads,” he said.
Mr Fred Benning, Senior Manager, General Service at MTN Ghana said the training programme was targeted at MTN drivers to ensure reduction in speeding, the use of mobile phones whiles driving, and to avoid driving whiles tired.
He said alongside better education, “we are planning a series of measures to improve the way the rules of the road are enforced and we believe also in cracking down on drivers, who fail to adhere to the laws of the road.”