Earlier this year, Joy News was invited to attend the funeral of Priscilla and her two-year-old son, Jaydon. They both died instantly in the hands of a reckless driver, whose car severely injured and killed the mother and her child on the scene.
The accident is one of many that could have been avoided, and it has raised the interest of road safety advocates who say enough is enough.
On the Super Morning Show Thursday, Dr. Godfred Akyea-Daarkwah, Chief Executive of the Road Safety and Transportation Consultancies Ltd told the show’s host, Daniel Dadzie, that reckless drivers are mostly to blame.
“The main source of this is human,” Akyea-Daarkwah said. “It has become an attitude, and we need to start arresting the source.”
Through Akyea-Daarkwah’s research, he found that drunk driving, driving while fatigued, over speeding, overloading of vehicles, poorly-designed roads and poor vehicle maintenance are mostly to blame for road accidents.
A newer problem is technology. Some drivers have attention disorder, where they multitask on WhatsApp and other social media platforms while driving, he said.
A deadly accident in Kintampo that claimed more than 60 lives.
By the numbers
The National Road and Safety Commission reported that in 2016 (the latest figures available), more than 2,000 people died in car-related accidents. Another 10,000 were injured.
“The crash statistics in 2016 represent an increase of 15.6% and 6.77% in fatalities and serious injuries respectively but a reduction of 11.7% in crashes over the 2015 figures,” the Commission wrote in a statement online.
The statement further added that for the third time, the Traffic System Risk (TSR) index hit a single digit: 9.24 fatalities for every 10,000 vehicles. Good news, but not good enough.
On their website, the NRSC states that part of their key function is to “undertake nationwide road safety education, information and publicity, carry out special projects for the improvement of road safety and coordinate, monitor and evaluate road safety activities, programmes and strategies.”
But Akyea-Daarkwah refutes those claims. He said that in 2015 the government of Ghana called on him and his team to train 40,000 commercial drivers on how to operate a vehicle properly. The training reduced the number of accidents that year, but those figures swelled again in following years because the training was not maintained.
Training must be continuous and intensive to truly reduce car accidents, he advocated, and continued that his efforts to enforce training have worked.
“I’m glad the government has given money to the NRSC to intensify education on safe driving. If government adheres to training, “they will have good occupational reports at the end of the year,” Akyea-Daarkwah said.