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25.03.2019 Feature Article

Prevention of Vehicular Crashes

Road Traffic Accidents, Prevention
Prevention of Vehicular Crashes
LISTEN MAR 25, 2019

Four persons die on Ghana road networks each day.
More than 6,000 people died and more than 40,000 people got injured on the roads between 2007 and 2010.

. Fault of the car driver (4 out of 5 cases of a car crash)

. Poor maintenance of the vehicles
. Poor Road maintenance and Defects on the Roads, Poor Road markings and signs.

Most road accidents could be avoided if the vehicle operator had been extra vigilant.

. Over speeding, driving recklessly and not following traffic rules cause most car accidents.

Over-speeding causes about 50 % of car accidents.

. Drivers fatigue lowers their Vigilance levels and often leads to accidents.

Risk of being involved in a car crash doubles after 11 hours of driving.

. Driving while Drunk leads to 10% of traffic accidents

. Failure to use seat belts. (Seat belts reduce accident related injuries by 40-50%)

. Poor Eyesight
. Overloading vehicles beyond their Expected Gross Weights causes accidents

. Tire failures/tire aging
Tires do age even if they have not been used or have only been used occasionally. Aging tires develop cracks in the tread and sidewall rubber and this leads to tread separation failures over time. There is a dramatic increase in tire failures 6 years after the production date. (After 6-8 years, motor vehicle tires no longer correspond in general in all features to the actual state of the art)

Presence of Distractions inside the car: Loud music, talking on cell phones, eating and texting

. Poor car maintenance:
Road Unworthy Vehicles frequently breakdown, obstruct traffic and lead to car crashes. Most accidents are caused by broken down vehicles on our roads.

. Non-existent Advance Warning Signs, Road Markings and Road Signs

. Sharing of Road networks with Pedestrians, Bike riders and Domesticated Animals often lead to car crashes

. Most accidents are caused by broken down vehicles on our roads.


  1. Enforcing Speed Limits

Research indicates that speed limits that road users perceive as realistic are more self-enforcing and adaptable.

Speed cameras and radars can catch drivers who exceed the speed limit.

Publicizing the presence of speed cameras/Radar on roadways, improves compliance with speed laws and reduces the incidence of crash and injury significantly.

  1. Installation of speed limit devices into vehicles.

Speed limit Governors installed on buses, trucks help reduce crash injuries

One study on alcohol use, found that over 7 % of Ghanaian drivers had their blood alcohol level greater than 0.08g/dl. Punishments and convictions do not deter driving after drinking.

What works is a Disqualification from driving after failing the alcohol breath test or a refusal to submit to a breath test.

Adequate time and Rest Stop facilities along roadways should be provided to allow breaks for Rest, Meals and Naps. The risk of fatigue related car crashes doubles after 11 hours of driving.

The daily driving time shall not exceed nine hours. However, the daily driving time may be extended to at most 10 hours not more than twice during the week.

Car drivers must break for rest for 45 minutes or more, after every four and a half hours.

The daily rest period must be uninterrupted and at least 11 hours long per each 24-hour period.

The use of seat belts reduces to half the number of fatalities after car crash.

All vehicle operators and their passengers must always click their seat belts on.

Using hand-held phones while driving quadruples the risks for a car crash.

Drivers react about 1 second slower when talking on hand-held phones. The may have difficulty keeping to their lanes and keeping safe distances in traffic.

The use of hand-held devices must be banned.
Persons with the following medical conditions, shall not be allowed to operate vehicles.

. Diabetic persons on INSULIN injections
. Persons with SLEEP APNEA (fall asleep while driving)

. Persons with poor VISION. Those whose Distant Vision is worse than 20/40, poor color vision

. Persons with Hearing impairments. Those who can't hear a forced whispered voice at more than 5 feet

. Persons with Epilepsy or using anti-seizure medications.

. Persons with Heart Disease that may lead to a sudden Loss of Consciousness

. Persons with BP >180/110
. Persons who abuse drugs Narcotics, including methadone, Tramadol, Amphetamines

Periodic Medical check-ups (every 1-2 years) must be a requirement for all commercial car drivers.

The week and year that a car tire was produced is represented by the last 4 digits of the Tire identification number, located on tire sidewalls. Example DOT: M787JCIR 0617 indicates that the tire was manufactured during the 6th week of the Year 2017

All tires must be replaced 6 years after the year of production, regardless of the remaining tread depth.

Since we are in the year 2019, replace any tires manufactured in 2012 or earlier, on your vehicles with newer tires.

Well maintained vehicles with good Breaks, Lights, Tires, will decrease car crashes.

Vehicles should be provided with Seat Belts, and other necessary safety provisions like Air Bags

Training on First Aid should be compulsory.
Health education and Traffic Education for the General Public to prevent accidents.

. Compulsory wearing Seat Belts (Helmets for Bike riders) must be implemented.

. To Enforce Traffic Rules by the Concerned Authorities, smoothly.

. For the Removal of Straying Animals like Cattle; Removal of Encroachment on Footpaths, and Road margins. These laws promote the free flow of traffic.

. Preventing Haphazard Parking of Vehicles and Construction Materials on Busy Roads and Intersections to ensure the Free Flow of Traffic.

Alex Sarkodie MD
Alex Sarkodie MD, © 2019

Alex Sarkodie,MBChB has over 30 years experience in the field of MedicineColumn: AlexSarkodie

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."