About US$165 million was used to offset the cost of road traffic crashes in Ghana in 2006, representing 1.65%of the nation?s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Speaking to Public Agenda last Friday in his office, Segt.Simon Tenkuu, the National Public Relations Officer for the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) in Accra was of the view that most accidents on the roads are as a result of human errors such as drunk driving, fatigue, over speeding, overloading and the disregard of road signs by drivers and pedestrians.
Motor Traffic Offenses statistics for the third quarter of 2009 reveals that in Accra alone, 353 persons were killed through road crashes and 2,579 were injured as against the second quarter where 336 and 2,255 were killed and injured respectively.
Segt.Tenkuu however stressed that most of the affected people were between the ages of 18-35 years of age. This was due to the fact that the driving age in Ghana was 18 years and secondly, most of the youth, who drove cars of their parents drove without authorization from them and sometimes drove drunk. ?It is widely known that in Ghana, most drivers do not die when accidents occur, accounting for the careless driving on our roads? he added.
It is estimated that Greater Accra records the highest road crashes in Ghana due to the concentration of cars with unsafe driving contributing to 90%-94% of road crashes as stated by the National Roads Safety Commission (NRSC) statistics.
Accidents prone areas in Ghana have been identified to be Aflao ?Accra road, Cape Coast ?Takoadi road, Takoradi ? Elubo and Accra ?Kumasi road. Other accident prone roads are Techiman-Kintampo road, Tamale-Navrongo road, Kumasi ? Sunyani road, Kumasi-Obuasi road, Sunyani-Techiman road, Tema-Asikuma and Asikuma ?Ho roads.
Ashanti, Eastern, Greater Accra, Central and Western account for 80% of road accidents in Ghana.
In an answer to what activities the MTTU has put in place to curb road accidents, Segt.Tenkuu responded that the MTTU has intensified their enforcement role by dispatching a lot of police and reflector men on the streets to help curb accidents this Christmas. He cautioned drivers and the general public to be disciplined when using roads.
Samuel Coffie, the financial Secretary of the Kaneshie Drivers Association at the Kaneshie-Takoradi and Capecoast station told Public Agenda that the Union recorded only one accident in October this year. He said there was none injured due to regular checking of the parts of vehicles before they took off. Also there was a weekly education of drivers on road safety measures by the union officers.
He advised drivers and passengers to build a cordial relationship by understanding one another?s role.
Mr. Ernest Armaquaye, the station master at the Kumasi Ford station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle who also spoke to Public Agenda, said that faulty vehicles such as articulators and cargo cars on the roads have also contributed to road crashes. He believed the small size of the Kumasi road accounts for accidents on the road.
Mr. Awuku, a driver at the Tema station who has been on the road for 35 years, attributed road crashes to overloading of vehicles by drivers who did it for the craze of monies, inadequate road signs and irregular working of traffic lights. ?I have never had an accident, he said proudly, ?because I am cautious of road safety measures.?