Ghana has over the last couple of years lost almost 10% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through road accidents, the Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah has revealed.
Statistics from the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) indicate that road traffic accidents cost the nation 1.6% of GDP annually, which translates into about US$165 million annually.
This means that over six years, Ghana has lost 9.6% of its GDP, which runs into about US$990million into solving road-traffic injuries and related matters.
This amount of money, according to the Transport Minister, is so huge that it could have been saved to finance some projects in other sectors of the economy.
Addressing stakeholders at the launch of this year’s national road safety campaign dubbed ‘Arrive Alive’ or ‘Kodru Dwodwoo’, the commissioning of a DVLA office as well as the outdooring of Quality Transport Services at an event in Takoradi in the Western Region on Thursday, October 1, 2020, Mr. Asiamah called for collaboration in the fight against road accidents in the country.
“When you look at the statistics on how we are losing out – the GDP that we lose through accidents, it is almost 10%, why? And most of these accidents could have been avoided if we had exercised a little bit of patience. So, please car owners, drivers, let us drive well and take our passengers to their various destinations safely”, he noted.
Women losing their husbands
According to the Transport Minister, more women are losing their husbands through road accidents, a situation he noted, ought to be averted immediately.
“Out of 100 road accidents, only two will be women drivers. The remaining 98 are men because women are so patient when they are driving. It is hard to see a woman drunk and driving. When you drink and drive, you will perish on the road. So, please, let us be careful when we hit the road”, he averred.
He added “A lot of women are losing their husbands as a result of road accidents. Now, we have few men around and so I will plead with you guys to be cautious on the road so that you will continue to live, marry the women and take good care of them for the country to benefit from you. But if you drive carelessly and get involved in an accident and don’t return home, the women will no longer get men to marry for them to start producing children.”
Arrive Alive comes alive
The Arrive Alive’ or ‘Kodru Dwodwoo’ road safety campaign is an ambitious project that seeks to caution road users about the need to observe all road safety measures while on the road.
The overall objective is to minimize the levels of indiscipline among road users, policymakers and implementers by educating the general public to adopt safe road-use practices while in traffic as drivers, pedestrians, passengers, motorcyclists, tricyclists or bicyclists as well as advocating for the removal of laxity associated with road safety.
The Director-General of the National Road Safety Authority, Ing. May Obiri-Yeboah, commenting on the campaign, said statistics about carnage on the country’s roads paint a gloomy picture and urged all to lend a hand in turning things around.
“Indeed, road transport remains the primary mode of transportation in Ghana, but note that safety on our roads has become a key challenge in our country, though road crashes and their resultant casualties are preventable. We are aware that these crashes have led to the current incidents of fatalities and serious injuries that should have been avoided if caution had been exercised. From January to August this year (2020), we have recorded a total number of 9,205 crashes resulting in 1,585 deaths, 1,638 pedestrian knockdowns and 9,397 injuries involving 15,459 vehicles.”, she revealed.
According to her, preliminary investigations into some of the crashes point out that none compliance with road safety regulations on the part of road users was a major cause of those incidents.
She expressed the belief that the upsurge numbers of road traffic crashes in the country will spur a constructive national conversation on the urgent need for better road user discipline and greater policy commitment in preventing the crashes.
“Today, as we launch the ‘Arrive Alive’ or ‘Kodru Dwodwoo’ campaign, we do so with utmost results believing that with the right collaboration from key stakeholders, we can stem the carnage on our roads. Road traffic crashes and their resultant injuries are no respecter of persons. We will all be at risk if we continue to do things as usual and overlook the basis of safety practices. I urge that we all play our part as road users always mindful of our own safety and that of other road users”, she stressed.