The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has embarked on a novelty cause to help check the carnage on our roads. With effect from October, this year, the union is introducing alcometers at all lorry parks to check alcohol levels of drivers. It has also ordered for some reflectors for acquisition by drivers.
These two initiatives by the drivers' union is highly commendable as they are very bold attempts at putting its house in order. The National Chairman of the GPRTU, Alhaji Yaw Manu, disclosed this at the Seventh Upper West Regional Delegates Conference of the union in Wa.
There is no doubt that the rate of road accidents is very alarming while the causes are laid at the doorstep of drivers most of the time. Most of the accidents which occur on our roads, in fact, are avoidable if drivers exercise some restraint and self-discipline. Drink-driving, fatigue and unnecessary overtaking, among other factors, are responsible for the majority of these senseless accidents.
The law in recent times has been very hard on reckless and recalcitrant drivers and a lot still needs to be done to curtail the incidence of road accidents. The police are also embarking on road checks but we must admit that some of these are also unnecessary because some of our law enforcement officials go on patrols for their own selfish interests.
We have the guts to say this because one marvels at how some vehicles loaded to the brim and pose serious danger to other road users manage to bypass the police barriers and patrol vehicles without any arrest.
Even though the police are doing a yeoman's job we believe that they can do the country more good if they focus their attention on some of these dangers rather than expecting handshakes from motorists to influence them to ignore wrongdoing.
While applauding this effort by the GPRTU we are equally wondering how this initiative, especially the alcometers, are going to be effectively used and monitored. The police have for some time been using this gadget but to no avail.
Drivers seem to have developed an antidote to this by adopting some planks. Some even say after taking in some alcohol they chew other powerful herbs to counter whatever effect the drink will have on the machine.
One way of ensuring that this initiative works well is for the GPRTU to make drivers stop at certain points along the road to undergo this check because drivers can leave the various stations without alcohol intake, but they can stop anywhere to take in some alcohol at the nearest 'blue kiosk' as it is called.
The Daily Graphic also wishes to suggest that the sale of alcoholic drinks at the various lorry stations should be stopped or monitored by the GPRTU. This trend is very insulting to the intelligence of Ghanaians when the GPRTU say that it abhors drink-driving but encourages the sale of the drinks at the lorry stations.
In fact, the sale of very hard liquor should be totally banned from our lorry stations. Another seeming problem is the fact that it is not all drivers who belong to the GPRTU and so how are those drivers going to be tested under the initiative?
By this, we are not saying this should be a licence for drivers who do not belong to the fold of the GPRTU to take to drink-driving. If anything at all, the GPRTU should collaborate with other transport unions to rope in all drivers.