Ho, Sept. 12 GNA - All Ghana Private Road Transport (GPRTU) terminals in the country will soon be fitted with seats and benches for waiting passengers.
This is part of a package of measures planned by the National Executive of the Union to ease the stress of travelling by the Union's numerous clients.
Mr Stephen Okudzeto, General-Secretary of the GPRTU announced this on Saturday during the inauguration of the Volta Regional Branch of the GPRTU Drivers' Wives Association (DRIWA) in Ho.
He said efforts were also being made to improve the human relations of Drivers, Mates, and other personnel of the Union who handle passengers, to boost public confidence in the Union and its services. Mr Okudzeto said all stations were now to give preferential treatment to the aged, pregnant and nursing mothers and the physically challenged when necessary.
He announced that the GPRTU was in the process of acquiring land to put up a modern road transport terminus in Accra with shopping centres and restaurants, among other facilities.
Mr Okudzeto said the GPRTU was now in competition with other road transport organisations and must strive to maintain its premier position in the country.
Scores of drivers' wives in the region attended the inauguration which was under the theme: "The Role of Women In Road Safety". Mr Okudzeto observed that absentmindedness and drunk driving were two important causes of road accidents and therefore implored the women to impress on their husbands the avoid alcohol or other intoxicants while driving.
He also advised the women to give their husbands the needed peace of mind to drive safely.
Mr Elvis Gbesemete, Volta Regional Coordinator of the Road Safety Commission said the "toll of road safety accidents on the Ghanaian society was very alarming and must be tackled with all hands on deck".
He said June 2004 figures indicate that out of the 700,000 vehicles on the road in Ghana, buses, mainly used for carrying passengers numbered 105,000, that is 15 per cent, but accounted for 25 per cent of road traffic accidents.
Mr Gbesemete said out of the 705 road traffic accidents recorded in the Volta Region in 2003, 235 cases, that is 33 per cent involved buses. He said a total of 284 traffic accident cases with 42 deaths and 409 injuries were recorded in the region during the first half of 2004. Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, in a speech read for her regretted that despite the intensive and extensive campaign being waged by the National Road Safety Commission, figures on road traffic accidents remained "frightening and alarming".
She said it was not good enough that between January and June this year alone, 3,000 people were injured and 700 killed in various road accident cases in the country.
Mrs Asmah applauded the women for joining the campaign for safe driving, remarking that there had been similar advocacy groups on safe driving organised by women in Australia and Denmark.
Mrs Judith Fiator, First Trustee of the Drivers Wives Association (DRIWA) in the Volta Region said the association should not be dismissed as of no consequence in road safety matters.
She urged her colleagues to put their husbands in the right frame of mind before they went behind the steering wheels.
Mrs Fiator appealed to government and financial institutions to offer members of the association credit facilities to invest in their cash-strapped or fledgling businesses as way of promoting women's welfare.
She said the association was formed to meet the mandate in the constitution of the GPRTU to encourage members' wives to socialise. Ms Lena Alai, Acting Volta Regional Coordinator of the National Council on Women and Development (NCWD) said a drivers wife should be hospitable and a good home maker since she was left alone at home for the greater part of the day.
Mama Atrato II, Queen Mother of Ho-Dome, who presided, advised the women to seek funding for their businesses from the many credit schemes now available under the programme to empower women economically. DRIWA Volta Region, whose chairperson is Mrs Aku Davor, marked their inauguration with a clean-up exercise in some parts of Ho and later donated assorted food items and provisions to the Ho District Hospital. Mr Owusu-Yeboa, Volata Regional Minister gave 5 million cedis on behalf of Mrs Asmah during an appeal for funds, while the Volta Regional Office of the Road Safety Commission donated a million cedis.