Tamale, Nov 28, GNA - The Northern Region recorded 208 accident cases from January to September last year resulting in 48 deaths, as compared to 171 cases with 33 deaths in 2003, Mr Ephraim Barakatu, Northern Regional Police Commander, has said.
Speaking at the regional launch of this year's National Road Safety week in Tamale on Monday, Mr Barakatu said the increases represented 22 percent in the spate of accidents and 45 percent in the casualty rate. The week was launched on the theme: "Be a responsible road user to avoid road traffic accidents".
Mr Barakatu who is also the Regional Chairman of the Northern Regional Road Safety Committee said his outfit had embarked on a frantic public education of pedestrians and motorists on basic traffic regulations with a view to reducing the spate of road accidents. He said the Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) had also embarked on a vigorous enforcement of road traffic regulations in the Tamale Metropolis, he said, adding that court fines on offenders between August and September this year, was 36 million cedis.
Mr Barakatu said the measures so far taken had resulted in the decline in the number of accidents from 208 with 48 deaths in 2004 to 150 accidents resulting in 37 deaths as at September this year. This represents a 28 per cent reduction in the number of accidents and 23 per cent decrease in related deaths.
Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister, said at the national level more than 1,000 people died through road accidents every year and about 10,000 persons end up with various degrees of injuries.
He said from 1993 to 2003 there were more than 120,000 accidents in which 15,000 people died and 127,000 persons injured. "This means that on the average six people die everyday through road accidents in the country."
He said government loses about 300 million dollars annually in terms of material loss and damage to properties, medical cases and loss of working hours due to accidents, saying, this represents two per cent of Gross National Product, which could be channelled into other useful sectors of the economy.
Alhaji Boniface called for a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach in reduction and prevention of road accidents. "Everyone in society should be interested in protecting his live by playing a role that will ensure that our roads are safe".
He however noted that through some measures taken by government, fatality rate on the road declined by death per 10,000 vehicles from 31 in 2001 to 27 in 2003.
The ultimate vision, he added, was to achieve a single digit fatality rate.
As part of the safety measures, the Ministry of Road and Transport in collaboration with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) had begun a postgraduate course in road engineering and management to provide the much-needed resource for the road industry.
Alhaji Boniface said the introduction of the metro-mass transport system was another measure the government was pursuing to decongest the commercial transport sector and make it safe. The Regional Minister asked drivers to desist from drink-driving since under the influence of alcohol, they were bound to make serious mistakes, which would not only endanger their passengers but also put others at risk.
He urged the police to deal drastically with undisciplined drivers. 29 Nov. 05