The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has expressed great worry over the rise in the number of road crashes especially in 2016, having recorded remarkable drops in such cases since 2012.
The Commission, as of the end of November 2016, had recorded a total of 11,378 road crashes countrywide involving 17,746 vehicles, of which the total number of casualties stood at 12,154 comprising of 1,990 deaths and 10,154 injuries.
Mrs May Obiri Yeboah, the Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission, at a press briefing in Accra on Monday, said the figures, compared with those recorded during the same period in 2015 involving the total number of reported cases- vehicles, injuries and fatalities- showed increases of 14.88 per cent, 14.45 per cent, 33.74 per cent and 20.19 per cent respectively.
She said the situation exceeded the projected number of deaths for the year by 38.26 per cent, a situation which requires urgent joint stakeholder collaborative efforts to be intensified in order to have a safe Christmas and New Year festivities.
She said the NRSC has engaged the media to brief them on the current road safety situation and preparation being made ahead of the Christmas and New Year festivities, and solicit their support on enhanced public education on road safety issues.
Mrs Obiri Yeboah said the year 2016 had been particularly challenging for road safety targets, deaths and injuries, explaining that NRSC was guided by provisions in the National Road Safety Strategy III, the Commission’s performance from 2013-2015, and efforts to help establish a clear path towards achieving the Strategic National Road Safety objective of reducing road traffic casualties by 50 per cent by the end of 2020.
She said the targets set for this 2016 were 1,440 and 4,140 for persons killed and those seriously injured respectively, however road safety continues to pose a challenge to the country’s development agenda as the number of deaths and injuries arising from road traffic crashes had their impact on both domestic and national economies.
“It will serve a useful reminder to know that, close to 70 per cent of road traffic crash victims were males leaving our wives widowed and children orphaned. Almost 55 per cent of victims who die and suffer severe injuries that threaten their economic relevance are within the productive age bracket of 18 and 55 years”, she said.
She said in the area of Road Safety Improvement Projects, progress has been made on Towing, Spot Fine and Speed Camera projects, while the Commission has also finalised contractual issues regarding the implementation of the Towing project to be fully operationalized before the end of the first quarter of 2017.
The Speed Camera and Red Light Enforcement project, the Public-Private Partnership Approval Committee has given consent for the pilot implementation of the project with Nationwide Traffic Management and Enforcement Limited, of which modalities were currently being developed for the smooth implementation of the pilot in the first quarter of 2017.
Mrs Obiri Yeboah cautioned all road users both motorists and pedestrians to observe the various Road Safety rules and regulations especially those celebrating the victories after the Election 2016, and also during the Christmas and New Year festivities.
She said the NRSC was collaborating with some of its partners including the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), the Ghana Police Service and the Guinness Ghana Limited, not only to increase the Commission’s visibility and safety information, but also to campaign against drink driving during the season.
She said the Street Sense Organisation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, would also deploy some volunteers at major intersections, terminals, toll booths and fuel stations among other strategic locations across the country, to engage motorist on safety issues, focusing on passenger empowerment, reducing speed and pedestrian safety measures.
She said the Commission has also engaged the leadership of Transport Operators and Unions on the need to intensify pre-departure checks and passenger empowerment opportunities in order to ensure that vehicles deployed and drivers under their control observed sound safety practices for the public good.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Emmanuel Adu Boahen, a Staff Officer at the MTTD, expounding on the seriousness of road crashes, said a total of 100 accident cases were recorded between 7 and 11 December, 2016, involving 157 vehicles, 44 deaths and 169 injured.
The two speakers appealed for more media support by way of space to prosecute the huge task ahead.
Mrs Obiri Yeboah later presented road traffic enforcement equipment worth 800,000 Ghana Cedis to the Ghana Police Service, and these include reflective vests, measuring wheels, digital height gauges, desk and laptop computers, alcohol test tubes, speed radar guns, Alcometers, dash board cameras and an equipment for the calibration of the radar guns and Alcometers.