Bolgatanga, June 18, GNA - Motor accidents in the Upper East Region dropped from 32 during the first three months of 2004 as compared to 37 for the same period last year due to rigorous road safety campaigns, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Benson Arnong-Quarshie, chairman of the Regional Road Safety Committee said on Thursday. He said during the first quarter of last year, 51 vehicles were involved in 37 accidents, resulting in 10 deaths and 38 injured, while from January to March this year, 32 accidents had been recorded involving 51 vehicles, six lives lost and 33 injured.
ASP Arnong-Quarshie, also head of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) in the region, was speaking at the regional launch of the Donewell's Road Safety Campaign and Best Driver Award Scheme in Bolgatanga.
In an overview of road accidents in the region in 2003, he said 232 accidents were recorded involving 144 vehicles, thus leading to the lost of 28 lives and 203 injured.
" But from the beginning of this year, the Regional Road Safety Committee has intensified its educational campaigns on road signs, defensive driving, and observance of road safety regulations", ASP Arnong-Quarshie said, adding "this has gone done well, thus reducing avoidable accidents in the region".
Launching the campaign, the Diocesan Trustee of Donewell Insurance Company Limited, Mr. Samuel Kodwo Appah on behalf of the Managing Director, Mr. Victor Larbi said, they initiated the best driver award as part of the Company's "social responsibility to complement the efforts of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) to ensure safety on our roads".
He said it was long over due for drivers as key players in the economy to be recognised for the critical role they play in the nation's socio-economic development.
Mr. Appah explained that the award scheme would cover all categories of commercial drivers plying within intra-cities, inter- cities, and long distances, adding that, passengers would play a major role in deciding on the eventual winners at the regional and national levels. The Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Rockson Bukari, who chaired the function, commended Donewell Insurance Company and its collaborators for the laudable initiative, and pledged government's support to ensure that the scheme succeeded.
The ultimate award winner of the Scheme at the national level would receive a Toyota Urvan bus the second prize winner would take home a Kia Urvan bus, while regional winners would each receive a double door fridge.
During question time, some drivers complained that using only passenger's judgement and observations as the criteria to select the best drivers was not good enough as cargo drivers would not be carted for.
Besides, they said passengers' brief interaction with drivers might not be enough for them to make an informed assessment of how suitable a particular driver is for selection, since other factors like the person's years of driving experience without an accident is also important.
Collaborators in the campaign include the National Road Safety Commission, Driver's and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), MTTU and PROTOA. The awards would be drawn in September. 18 June 04