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18.04.2006 Disaster

MPs mourn with accident victims

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Accra, May 18, GNA - The increasing cases of fatal road accidents took centre stage in Parliament on Thursday with members of Parliament calling for stricter checks on drivers and other factors responsible for these accidents.

Some members called for the establishment of a well-resourced highway police unit and a review of portions of the road safety act to deal ruthlessly with bad drivers who flout traffic regulations and cause a lot accident on the highway.

The members were contributing to a statement on road accidents made on the floor of the house by Ms Elizabeth Agyeman, (NPP-Oforikrom) following the recent accident involving a 207 Benz bus and a State Transport Company bus on the Kumasi-Sunyani road, which claimed over 30 lives.

Ms Agyeman said she could count about 29 other accidents involving 207 buses since she made a similar statement in the house in February this year and said these buses come into the country as cargo trucks only to be changed into passenger vehicles.

"Now Mr Speaker, I want to make a passionate appeal to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport to immediately take up the matter and make the necessary investigations on the use of these 207 buses and submit their report to the government," she added. Mr Edward Salia, (NDC-Jirapa), said such an investigations should not be limited to the 207 buses alone, saying there were other vehicles such as tankers, which were also known to be a major factor in road traffic accidents.

He called for a more comprehensive investigation into causes of these accidents for a more proactive approach in solving the problem. Mr Ofosu Asamaoh, (NPP-Kade), said there was the need for greater controls on careless driving and the use of wrong spare parts for vehicles.

He urged the media to play an active role in educating drivers on road safety issues instead of focusing mostly on political events.. Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, (NDC-Wa West) touched on the use of alcoholic beverages and hard drugs by some commercial drivers and called on the Ministry of Information and National Orientation to institute an educational programme on safe driving for drivers.

Other members, who contributed, expressed concern about the way drivers were trained and urged the government to establish a state-owned driving school to provide an efficient training programme for drivers including ministers of state to ensure safety on the roads.