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26.09.2005 General News

Carrying children under-five in the front seat is an offence

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Accra, Sept. 26, GNA - Alhaji Mustapha Garbah, a Former Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU), said on Monday it was an offence to put a child under five years in the front seat under the new Road Traffic Act 2004.

A child is a fragile 'commodity,' laps of parent's or guardians were not the safe place to transport a child in a car, he said and warned motorist to desist from the practices whereby their wives and relations occupy the front seat with babies on their laps.

Offenders were liable to a fine or imprisonment or both, Alhaji Garbah stated.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency at the weekend at a community durbar at Accra Newtown to sensitise the public on road safety measures, environmental cleanliness and the National Health Insurance Scheme, he said, children under five years should be placed in a child-restraint facility.

The durbar organised by the Accra Newtown Evangelical Presbyterian (Bethel) Church on the theme: "Salvation is Fullness of life and Growth Cleaner Fest, Road Safety Campaign and Community Durbar," as part of activities to commemorate its Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Other offences Alhaji Garbah, who is now the Greater Accra Road Safety Co-ordinator, mentioned were driving without wearing seat belt; ridding a motorbike without crash helmets and leaving a disabled vehicle on the road for over 12 hours without informing the appropriate authorities.

Driving or ridding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an offence, which attracts a fine of between 500 penalty units and 2,000 penalty units or an imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.

The former MTTU Chief urged drivers to be patient on the road as every safe mile covered prolonged the lives of passengers. "The higher the speed, the nearer the grave;" "Drive fast die fast" and "over speeding is your passport to death", warned motorists.

Alhaji Garbah noted that a safe journey begins with a safe driving and urged the driving public to observe driving rules and rule out death on the roads.

He acknowledged the important role vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles played in the daily lives of the people but warned that its was also a potential danger, "we, therefore, need to exercises the greatest circumspection in their usage".

Ms Anne Micheal, Nursing Officer at the Maamobi Polyclinic, decried the unsanitary condition under which most food vendors prepared food for the public. She said people should not eat food prepared and sold near open drains, toilets, and under other poor environmental conditions.

The Reverend O. K. Klu, District Pastor of the Church, said activities marking the year-long 50th Anniversary celebration was on the general theme: "Unity and Peace for National Development: The Churches' Role".

Planned activities included a symposium for capacity development; health talks on the menace of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, blood donation, community interaction and fun games.

Rev Klu said the Church had the responsibility to educate the youth on the role of religious bodies in a multi-party democratic system, sensitise the community on national development issues and provide the opportunity for the youth and elderly to share ideas.

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