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21.07.2005 Regional News

Minister urges support of MDAs in curbing road accidents


Mankessim, July 21, GNA - Mr. Magnus Opare-Asamoah, deputy Minister of Road Transport, on Thursday, expressed concern that the nation expends more than one trillion cedis on road traffic accidents every year, and in addition to the lost of investment in her human resources.

The deputy Minister, in this regard, told managements of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that they "have a moral and professional responsibility" to ensure that road accidents involving government vehicles, which constitute about 60 per cent of the nation's 700,000 vehicle are progressively reduced.

Mr Opare-Asamoah was opening a two-day seminar on 'road safety awareness' for the MDAs at Mankessim.

Thirty participants, including transport officers, directors, managers and engineers, are attending the seminar, which is being organised by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC).

It aims, among others, at sensitising and creating greater awareness among MDAs of the dimensions of road safety problems, and providing the platform for them to appreciate the urgent need to develop and implement best road safety practices, and related transport policies.

He said it was obvious that the state has invested hugely in the acquisition and management of these vehicles, and therefore stressed the need for such a huge investment to be well protected, in order to realize the optimum benefit to the economy.

Mr. Opare-Asamoah explained that while the rapid increase in vehicle usage has brought many benefits to the nation, it has brought in its wake a range of associated challenges, which include motor traffic accidents and their attendant problems.

He said motor traffic accidents result in damage and destruction of vehicles, fatalities and injuries to persons, and that it also inflicts economic burden on the permanently disabled and on families, as a result of the loss of the main bread- winner.

Mr Opare-Asamoah, therefore urged the participants to develop action to ensure that the seminar achieves the desired objectives, stressing that the "outcome of the seminar would be measured in terms of the reduction of the number of motor traffic accidents in MDAs". Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, manager, in-charge of planning and education at the NRSC, for her part, emphasized that over speeding was the major contributory factor accounting for more than 50 percent of all road traffic accidents in Ghana.

She said six regions -- Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Eastern, Western and Brong Ahafo account for more than 85 percent of all road accidents in the country.

Professor Kwasi Adarkwa, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, who is the moderator of the seminar, also mentioned poor vehicle maintenance culture and poor compliance of traffic regulations, as contributing to road accidents. He advised participants to attach importance to the seminar, in order to arrive at the best road safety management practices, which would ensure that vehicles are prudently and judiciously managed.