Personnel of the Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Service in Tamale, are on the warpath with drivers and riders of motor cycles in the metropolis.
This follows the intensification of an exercise to deal with vehicle and motor drivers who fail to adhere to traffic and safety regulations, resulting in gross indiscipline on the roads.
The Northern Regional Commander of the MTTU, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Godwin Cashman Blewushie, joined the team to arrest recalcitrant drivers, some of who tried to thwart the exercise.
Motor riders are the most offenders due to their failure to wear crush helmets, register their motorbikes, acquire driving licences or follow traffic rules.
Some other riders overloaded their motorbikes or used fake number plates and unapproved routes, such as pedestrian lanes and one-way streets.
About 50 motorbikes have so far been impounded, while a number of expired driving licences have been seized. The owners of these bikes and licences have been converging on the premises of the MTTU to plead but the MTTU insists sanity must prevail.
“Go home and bring us documents to show you have registered your motorbikes and that you have been licensed to use these bikes” DSP Blewushie told the culprits.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the MTTU commander observed that many motorcycle riders in Tamale did not even know they should have licences. He said apart from licences, all motorbikes and vehicles need to be registered and insured.
DSP Blewushie also noted that the licences held by a lot of the drivers had expired but they had failed to renew them. He said other drivers were also holding photocopied licences, insisting that “the law does not recognise a photocopied licence because it could be forged.”
DSP Blewushie said the police was working to secure the interest of citizens, adding that, “when we enforce safety regulations, it leads to the protection of lives,curbing avoidable accidents.”
He also explained that some unscrupulous persons could use the unregistered motorbikes to commit crimes and escape while the failure to wear helmets has been one of the common offences of riders of motorcycles in Tamale.
According to the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), more than 50 per cent of deaths resulting from motor accidents in Tamale are due to head injuries, which imply that the victims did not wear any crush helmet.
Road safety experts agree that wearing a helmet is one of the most important things a motorcycle rider can do for protection while riding because it protects the rider by preventing brain and spinal cord injuries.
Meanwhile the Dakpema, a traditional leader in Tamale, says he fully supports any exercise that would ensure discipline on the roads of Tamale.
One of his sub-chiefs, the Diema-Naa, Mr Mohammed Hafiz, told the Daily Graphic that “it is the Dakpema’s wish to see sanity on the roads of Tamale as it is fast becoming a sprawling city.”
He said the Dakpema was exploring ways of collaborating with the police to sensitise riders to traffic and road safety regulations so as to avoid the situation where the police are compelled to make arrests that usually led to tension between the MTTU and residents.