AMA-Bloomberg Partner On Road Safety

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and Bloomberg have signed a partnership agreement to ensure traffic regulations are observed, to enable a total reduction in road accidents in the Metropolis.

It said that, from 2011-2015, a total of 12,877 road traffic crashes were recorded, with 24 per cent either fatal or serious, resulting the deaths of 891 individuals, and 2,877 others injured.

The roads in Accra are gradually becoming unsafe, as 69 per cent of all road traffic deaths in the Metropolis involves pedestrians, and motorcycle riders following with 14 per cent.

To correct the menace, the Chief Executive of the AMA, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, on the occasion of re-launching the AMA-Bloomberg partnership on road safety on Monday at the Accra City Hotel, pledged to increase enforcement of the existing bylaws and amend some, if necessary.

The major target for this enforcement was tilted towards commercial motorcycle riders, locally known as Okada, whose operations in recent times have added immensely to traffic accident situations in the Metropolis.

According to the AMA Chief Executive, the reckless behaviour of Okada operators on the roads have increased the capital city’s traffic accident burdens significantly.

He said the intensity of injuries are very worrisome, since 79 per cent of all the victims are male, and between 18-59 years, saying, “this is the productive bracket of our population. Furthermore, over 80 per cent of the victims are males, and their incapacitation from road crashes disrupts their families emotionally and financially.”

Mr. Sowah feared that if care was not taken to reduce road crashes, it is estimated that the government will lose 16.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year.

In order to reverse this trend, he indicated that the AMA would be rolling out three activities, namely; education, safer road design, and bylaws enforcement.

The need for the AMA and it partners to embark on these activities was because some of the roads in the capital pose a danger to motorists, hence drivers and other road users must be made aware and take precautions while using such roads.

He called on the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) to continue arresting and prosecute drunk drivers, speeding, rickety vehicles and motorcycle riders without crash helmets, to make the roads safe.

Rebecca Bavinger, Bloomberg representative, said the philanthropic organisation chose to partner the assembly, because the city is on record as having a high incidence of road accidents.

8th to 14th May, as member countries are being encouraged to remain committed and focused on the target set in the Decade of Action document.

WARSO has adopted the UN Decade of Action as an implementing working document in all it member states. It was of this reason that in this year, both WARSO and UN chose the same theme on speeding.

The National Road Safety Commission, as the lead road safety agency in Ghana, will therefore, lead the celebration in the country, by unveiling a campaign on the slogan: “Save Lives: #Slow Down”.

It is for this reason that the NRSC and the MTTD embarked on the exercise to increase the understanding of the dangers of speed, and generate action measures to address speed, in order to save lives on our roads.

The four sets of teams deployed to cover the designated areas were equipped with speed radar guns to check the speeds of motorists to ensure enforceability of the law.

NRSC advocates were, on the other hand, educating drivers, passengers and pedestrians on good road practices.

The Director in charge of Planning and Programming at the NRSC, Ing. David Osafo Adonteng, in an interview, said Ghana bought into the idea after which the UN asked all member countries to consider the issue of speeding to create the awareness.

He added that 60% of fatal crashes in the country are a result of speeding, and through the exercise, the team observed the level of speeding on the highways, adding that majority of drivers were really speeding.

Ing. Adonteng was happy with the level of the exercise, since the teams’ presence made a difference, “in that, of course, they recognise that we are here, and we have mounted these speed checks at four strategic locations on the stretch. The signal is already running round among the transport operators, so they are minimising,” he added.

DSP Adu Boahen, Staff Officer of the MTTD, who led the police personnel, said the Kasoa-Winneba stretch was identified, because most accidents that have happened in the country were on that stretch, and speed was a contributing factor.

The same exercise was embarked on in other regions where traffic road crashes are prevalent.

By Bernice Bessey