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18.05.2004 Regional News

Road Safety Commission to institute award

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Sunyani (B/A), May 18, GNA - The National Road Safety Commission is to institute a best driver award to help reduce, the spate of road motor accidents.

The criteria for winning the award would be accident-free record, good behaviour, good maintenance, and drivers whose general performance would be in conformity with road safety measures.

Mr. Nobel Appiah, Acting Executive Secretary of the Commission announced this at a meeting with executives of Brong Ahafo Regional Road Safety Committee in Sunyani.

In attendance included police accident squads from the districts, representatives of GPRTU, Cargo and Tipper Truck Associations, State Transport Company (STC) and Progressive Transport Association (PROTOA). Mr. Appiah said 400 motor accidents were recorded in the first quarter of the year, adding that 200 of them happened in Ashanti Region alone.

"The problem of road safety should go beyond the number of casualties or deaths," he said, stressing that the consequential effects on dependants, families and relatives after such calamities were other long-term problems.

Mr. Appiah disclosed that a study had shown that 90 percent of road accidents in the country could have been prevented had those drivers or motorcycle and bicycle riders had observed road safety laws. "It is on record that every month, 122 precious lives are lost in Ghana through road accidents," he said.

He noted that the committee's efforts on road safety education in the region could not achieve the desired impact unless identifiable organisations like the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Information Services Department (ISD), the media and others got involved.

Mr. Appiah disclosed that road accident deaths placed third position as causes of deaths in the country and asked the travelling public to be bold to caution drivers and not to keep mute over any undisciplined behaviour by drivers.

He asked the regional committee to extend its educational programmes to churches and mosques since road accidents were more dangerous and destructive in the country than HIV/AIDS. Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Cosmos Afena Damoah, Regional Secretary of the committee, gave assurance that members would work to weed out undisciplined drivers in the region.

ASP Damoah, who is also in-charge of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) in the region said the unit, in a recent operation at Berekum arrested a number of drivers for various driving offences and were prosecuted at the Berekum Magistrate's Court.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Douglas Akrofi Asiedu, Regional Police Commander, who presided, deplored the practice by hawkers and traders to invade pavements in the Sunyani Municipality and gave the assurance that the police would assist the Municipal Assembly to clear pavements for the free movement of vehicles and pedestrians.

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