The Vice President of Ghana his Excellency Kwesi Amissah Arthur has underscored the need for more drivers training to prevent roads traffic accident.
With the need to have a National Road Strategy to decentralize road safety management by empowering the local governance structures in places so as to reduce accidents
He made the statement when he represented President John Mahama as the guest speaker at the Federal Road Safety Commission’s 5th Annual Lecture Series, on the 28th February, 2014 at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
This year’s lecture was is in continuation of the need to stimulate public discourse and action on the developmental challenges towards realizing set goals for safer roads in the African continent, in the 21st century, with the theme : Safer Roads: A 21st Century Development Challenge”.
Delivering his address the vice president Kwesi Amissah Arthur stated that In Ghana the National Road Safety Commission has developed a policy framework and engaged the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as well as the Metropolitan Municipal District Chief Executives to ensure that road safety is well-established in the development agenda of local
Assemblies with Over 300 Metropolitan District Chief Executives with their District Coordinating Directors and Planners have been trained in this regard.
And that the theme: Safer Roads: A 21st Century Development Challenge was very thoughtful of the Commission as it provided a platform for brings the issues of road safety to a level that will provide public interest.
He further stated that Road transport is the primary means of transport in the ECOWAS sub-region conveying passengers and goods between our countries. It has been a catalyst for socio-economic development.
Saying Road Traffic Crashes have become an undesirable by-product of the road transport system globally but more disturbingly in low and middle-income economies, including many of the countries in our sub-Region.
Vice President Amissah Arthur said according to the World Health Organization, road crashes claim roughly 3,200 lives each day, meaning a million and quarter deaths occur each year. Young adults, that is, those aged between 15 and 44 years, account for almost 60 per cent of global road traffic deaths. About 77 per cent of those accidents involve men. And a massive 92 per cent of these road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean region, where just 53 per cent of global vehicles are registered.
He said statistics also show that pedestrian, cyclists and other riders of two-wheelers and their passengers account for half of all road traffic deaths globally.
In 2010 for example, low-income countries had an average road traffic fatality rate of 18.3 compared to high-income countries that registered a fatality rate of 8.7. The African region had the highest road traffic fatality rate of 24.1, while Europe had a rate of 10.3.
So It is projected that by the year 2020, road traffic injuries could be the third leading cause of deaths globally, killing up to two million people with 90 per cent of all injuries occurring in developing countries. It is therefore essential that we take swift and co-ordinated action to reverse the trend.
He went on to state that the cost of road accidents is estimated to range from 1 per cent to 3 per cent of a country’s GDP. This cost arises from the damage to property, in the cost of treatment and rehabilitation of victims and the productivity losses and the loss of wages for those killed or disabled by injuries.
Vice President Kwesi Amissah Athur said the situation is alarming for those of in the low-income regions of the world. So need to increase our efforts in road safety and reduce crashes and its consequent injuries and fatalities. This may appear to be a daunting task.With the WHO statistics showing that 2007, 88 countries have reduced the number of road traffic deaths. However in 87 others increases in deaths arising from road traffic accidents have been recorded. It is necessary that we set a course of prevention and reduction through the use of the right systems.
Quoting former united nations secretary generals statement In 2007, that: “Road safety is no accident. Road safety happens through the deliberate efforts of many individuals and many sectors of society, Governmental and non-Governmental alike. Every one of us has a role to play: Ministers of Transport, Health and Education; health care providers; automobile associations; educators; students; insurers; vehicle manufacturers; the media and victims of road traffic crashes and their families. But a strong commitment at the political level is crucial. Today’s success stories often result from a decision at the highest level of government to improve safety on the road.”
Something he associates himself with so the need to do something positive to improve road safety in our respective countries by committing to building teams and prioritizing critical actions at the highest level of governance that will increase protection for road users.
He took the opportunity to share with the audience a few actions that Ghana has taken since as a nation they joined the world to launch the Decade of Action for Road Safety. In May they launched the National Road Safety Strategy III as the national blueprint for road safety management in Ghana.
And have introduced road traffic legislation, with improved provisions on road safety, particularly on the regulation of speeds, use of seatbelts, crash helmets, and a ban on the use of motor cycles for commercial passenger purposes.
Calling for the need for a lead agency like the Federal Road Safety Commission to offer leadership in the planning and management of road safety policy direction and implementation
With a commitment to a review of the mandate of such lead agencies so that they can demand responsibility on behalf of Government on road safety actions. It is necessary to call on countries that are yet to establish these lead agencies to do so as a matter of urgency.
And in that in Ghana, they are using the frameworkas another key initiative in reducing road crashes is the maintenance of safer vehicles.
But unfortunately, the reality for most low-and-middle income countries is that the majority of vehicles on the roads are imported second-hand ones. Ghana’s response was to place a penalty on the import of ‘over aged’ vehicles to increase their cost and make their patronage unattractive.
He went on to state that over the past two years, Ghana have also been working with the private sector to establish state of the art vehicle testing stations comparable with those in high income countries. These stations carefully screen vehicles before they are issued with road worthiness certificate with the establishment of the National Drivers Academy with the support of the private sector and have consequently instituted mandatory refresher training for people seeking a renewal or upgrade of their driver’s licenses.
He took the opportunity to praise the Federal Road Safety Commission’s and corp. for the good work that they are doing and the good work they will continue to do.
Earlier in the morning he visited the head office of the Federal roads safety corps where he inspected a guard that was mounted in his honour and inspected the state of the art facilities that that used in tracking their data for traffic offenders like GPS, fines number of accident in a day the number of death related issues due to accidents and other information so as to minimize accident in Abuja.
The Corps Marshal Mr Osita B Chidoka thanked him for the visit and also presented him with some number special number plate that when ever he come to Abuja he would used and signed a visitors book.
The Vice President was accompanied by the deputy foreign minister his Excellency Mr. Kwesi Quartey and the deputy Transport minister Hon Joyce Mogtari