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21.10.2005 General News

Use seat belts and crash helmets - Minister

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Tamale, Oct. 21, GNA - The use of seat belts and crash helmets by drivers and motorists could reduce the risk of severity in accidents by 60 per cent in the country, a research conducted by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has revealed.

Mr Magnus Opare-Asamoah, Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport announced this at the National Launching of the campaign to promote the use of seat belts and crash helmets at Tamale on Thursday. He cautioned drivers and motorists against the use of mobile phones while driving or riding because most accidents occurred when they failed to concentrate on driving or riding.

Mr Opare-Asamoah said the Government had strengthened the institutional and technical capacity of the road safety related statutory bodies to enable them live up to their responsibilities. He said the NRSC, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Service and the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) had been supported to enhance their human, technical and institutional capacities.

The Deputy Minister said a comprehensive road traffic Act (683) had been enacted to replace the 1952 traffic ordinance to provide the regulatory, enforcement and road safety management institutions with adequate legal instruments to undertake their duties effectively. Mr Opare-Asamoah said the Act had provisions to enhance the delivery of road safety services and the impact of the road safety campaign would be evaluated yearly to find out whether it had achieved its primary goal of promoting the increased use of seat belts and crash helmets.

Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister said road traffic accidents and their associated injuries cost the nation one trillion cedis annually about two per cent of Gross National Product.

He said from September 12 to October this year, about five riders and pillion riders had died through road traffic accidents within the Tamale Metropolis.

"As for those who sustained serious and minor injuries, the number is large and in all these instances the victims failed to use crash helmets", he added.

The Regional Minister said the Northern Regional MTTU was making the necessary efforts to ensure that all riders and their pillion use crash helmets that was mandatory and noted that about 50 per cent of riders in the Metropolis were now using crash helmets.

He said, "Let use remain focused and work diligently as a team to ensure that all vehicle occupants wear seat belts and riders wear crash helmets to reduce the fatality rate per 10,000 vehicles to a single digit as envisaged by the National Road Safety Commission."

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