Ho — THE 2019 National Road Safety Performance Review Conference opened in Ho on Monday with serious public concerns over the conduct of tricycles operating as taxis on the roads.
Togbe Adzi Lakle Howusu XII, Awafiaga of Asogli, who chaired the function, was the first to express worry about the phenomenal surge in the number of commercial tricycles in the municipality currently.
He complained that they posed constant danger to other road users and pedestrians, as the operators of the tricycles disregarded traffic regulations and road signs.
He stated that operators of these taxis often sped through the red traffic light in the regional capital with impunity.
"Clearly, the operators of these tricycle taxis have not been trained in any aspect of the use of the road, and they have no driving or riding licences to operate their machines on the roads," he added.
Apart from that, Togbe Howusu noted that the commercial tricycle operators lacked basic education and fundamental customer service skills, for which reason they were often rude to other road users and the general public.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Ho, John Nelson Akorli expressed similar sentiments, saying that the assembly would intervene and further insist on training for the tricycle operators.
He said that those who refused to undergo training and acquire licences would be banned from operating their machines on the roads.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah said that the NRSC had implemented the first two phases of the National Road Strategies and was currently implementing the National Road Safety Strategy III aligned to the global efforts towards road safety improvement.
During the period, she said that there had been a significant improvement of public consciousness and awareness for road safety, with the child pedestrian and passenger related fatalities reducing significantly.
For instance, Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said the road fatality rate from about 27 per every 10,000 vehicles in 1999 fell to about eight per 10,000 vehicles in 2017.
"However, in the same period, challenges with the use of motorcycles have emerged to threaten all the gains made in the other road user categories," she revealed.
The Board Chairman of the NRSC, Reverend Ismaila Awudu, commended government for its bold step to transform the commission into an authority and for the recent logistical and budgetary support for the NRSC.
However, he maintained that the entire staff strength of the commission of less than 70 nationwide was woefully inadequate.
"Although the staff number has been augmented with about 300 personnel from NABCO, we appeal to government to help to beef up the technical staff requirement of the commission to help meet the complex demands of road safety as well as manpower for the new regions," he stated.
More than 20 participants, including regional directors of the NRSC and their supporting staff and various stakeholders are attending the four-day conference under the theme, 'National Road Safety Commission at 20 - The journey so far'.