The Minister for Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah, has announced new measures to ensure safe travelling on our roads.
He said this as a result of the rising spate of accidents in the country in recent times, with the latest ones at Kintampo and in the Central Region being cases in point.
He asserted that management of companies doing long distance journeys should ensure that buses above 3.5 tonnes have emergency exits, among other safety devices.
He indicated that such buses must have two drivers, and a definite destination, with one driver handing over to the other in the course of the journey.
According to him, the Transport Ministry is collaborating with the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service for the enforcement of the measures.
This came up during a forum for representatives of transport and drivers' unions at the VIP Jeoun meeting room at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle last Friday.
At the forum, the minister added that the country can no longer look on unconcerned, as recklessness on the part of drivers continuous to kill Ghanaians – most of whom are the youth.
Mr Asiamah, who was accompanied by his deputy, Titus Nii Glover, and the board chairman of the NRSC, Rev. Ismaila Awudu, among other dignitaries from the DVLA on behalf of the NRSC, presented road check devices worth $250,000 to the MTTD to register driving time, breaks and rest periods of drivers.
He said drivers who breach regulations would have their licences suspended as part of the measures to stem accidents on the highways.
He charged management of the various transport associations to ensure periodic capacity building for their drivers in compliance with Road Traffic Regulation 125.
He pointed out that the Transport Ministry was collaborating with Scania West Africa Limited, GIZ and the West African Transport Academy to provide training for drivers of modern-day buses and heavy-duty automobiles.
The representatives of the various unions such as VIP-Jeoun, GPRTU, PROTOA, VVIP, STC and Metro Mass Transit commended the minister, NRSC and the DVLA for their respective sustained road safety campaigns, especially during festive periods.
They entreated the minister to appeal to the Ministry of Roads and Highways and the government to take steps to redesign the country's road network, especially the introduction of dual carriage roads to meet the needs of current models of vehicles.
They further called for the closure of all alcoholic and drug sales points at all terminals, adding that it was time to introduce resident psychologists at all terminals to take care of the needs of drivers.