These Numerous Lorry Accidents
AN AVERAGE of 900 people are killed in motor accidents every year in Accra, according to a survey conducted in the national capital and published in our issue of yesterday. The story said a total of 8,894 - almost 9,000 - people died through such accidents between 1992 and 2001 in Accra and far many more were injured, while vehicles damaged through the accidents numbered over 120,000.
Predictably, the figures will be more than double when data are collected from the nine remaining regions of the country, and that is quite a terrifying spectacle and a serious challenge to our socio-economic development.
Is there anything to do to reduce road accidents and their effects? Surely, there are quite a number of measures to take to reduce motor accidents to the barest minimum. But these are measures that are time-tested, well-known to the authorities and quite implementable. The real stumbling block in the way of those measures is the lack of courage on the part of the supposed implementers.
And so, with 30 days to go for Christmas when drivers, motorists and pedestrians would be excited and, at times reckless, we call on the authorities - particularly the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Police Service - to enforce all the rules and regulations governing driving and riding.
Drunken driving is illegal and we on the Chronicle will expect that stringent tests are carried on drivers suspected to have taken in alcohol. Overloading, ignoring of traffic regulations and unlicensed driving can, and should, be stopped by the salaried men and women who stand in the sun to direct traffic or check offences.
To demand or accept bribes from offending drivers is to urge them on to commit worse crimes and put the lives of innocent people at needless risk. Let police authorities, therefore, monitor the policing of the roads and highways to ensure that their subordinates do not collect pittances that drag the image of the police institution in the mud and encourage the murders on our ways.
Unserviceable vehicles are not supposed to be allowed to ply the roads but as number of passengers increases in Christmas and on such busy occasions, all rickety buses, taxis and trucks bounce back onto the roads with impunity. For once, let there be order and let the MTTU arrest all unserviceable vehicles or, at least, clear them off the roads.
Of course, a deplorable road network engenders motor accidents. While rehabilitation of many roads is impossible, patching of potholes and trenches with stone chips mixed with bitumen, for example, is possible and we expect this to be done - at least - on the busy routes.
Education in the electronic media, the newspapers, on road side billboards and, in collaboration with motor transport unions, is known to effectively keep drivers within the confines of the rules. Education at all fronts is, therefore, recommended.
Also educating the mass of passengers and pedestrians is also quite an insurance against reckless driving. Let people know that if they overload themselves in buses and trucks, they do so at their own risks. If they urge overspeeding drivers on, they could be hurrying towards their graves.