The Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak is spearheading an amendment of the Road Traffic Act 2004 (Act 683) for stiffer punishments to be handed out to reckless drivers.
According to him, drivers who cause the death of people, especially expectant mothers must only not be prosecuted and jailed but also made to pay compensations to the families of victims.
His comments follow an accident last week at Dompoase which claimed the lives of 35 people.
“It is just an amendment. We do not expect to encounter a lot of challenges on the Floor of Parliament. We need something like that to further put a duty of care for drivers and cyclists to be extra careful when they are carrying passengers. At times, pregnant women and their babies suffer damages. Such situations have proven to be difficult to get such mothers, compensation. If we can find out that it was a result of the recklessness of a driver, then the person is not just charged for not just harming one person but two. So it is our way of helping to caution drivers and cyclists.”
Drivers urged to be disciplined on roads to reduce crashes
While human error has largely been blamed for the high numbers of road crashes recorded over the world, arguments have been made for the absence of requisite road infrastructure to aid safe travels.
Between 1991 and 2018, Ghana has lost over 46,000 people to road crashes. Analysts say road phenomenon has become the leading cause of deaths among Ghanaians.
Deputy Director in charge of driver training, testing and licensing, at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Kafui Semevo, has opined that properly training motorists must go hand in hand with the provision of necessary road infrastructure.
“It is about time we started looking at how to have dual carriages so that head-on collisions would not be things that we should be referring to because head-on collisions actually increase the number of people who die in a crash. I think that we should continue to look at the driver side but also pay attention to other matters that contribute to road crashes. Once we do that, all these numbers we are recording will drop drastically. Crashes may happen but people shouldn’t be losing their lives,” he noted.
Transport companies involved in fatal crashes must be fined – Franklin Cudjoe
IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe, is advocating for transport companies to be fined if their buses are involved in fatal crashes.
This, Mr. Cudjoe said, could be a major measure to help ensure safety on Ghana’s roads.
“I think transport companies should be fined heavily for each loss of life. The state has to just take this up,” he said on The Big Issue.
Mr. Cudjoe stressed that it was time for the appropriate government agencies to proactively address road safety issues.
“Maybe we need to reset the rules. Maybe everybody should just be allowed to go and retake driving lessons as well as certify our vehicles, but this must not be an event. You see we are lamenting now because something has happened and all of a sudden, we are talking about it,” he said.
Road crashes in Ghana
Statistics from the National Road Safety Commission shows that Ghana loses over 230 million dollars annually due to road crashes.
Poor driving skills, gross indiscipline by drivers and unworthiness of cars on Ghanaian roads according to the Commission could be blamed for the unfortunate incidences.
Within the last 28 years, about 46, 284 Ghanaians have been killed in road accidents nationwide.
In the first quarter of 2019 alone, the number of road users killed recorded a 17.57% increase over figures for the first quarter of 2018.
Commuters and pedestrians killed increased from 592 in the first quarter of 2018 to 696 in the same period of 2019.