In response to calls to curb the ever-increasing road crashes, the University of Mines and Technology’s Disaster and Emergency Management Hub has offered free road safety training for 640 commercial and institutional drivers as well as cyclists from the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality and the Prestea-Huni-Valley District.
The training which forms part of UMaT’s corporate social investment was in collaboration with the National Road Safety Authority, the Police MTTD, Fire Service, the Ghana Ambulance Service, the DVLA, Transport Unions and mining companies in the Tarkwa area including the Ghana Manganese Company and AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Limited.
Based on a road safety course developed by UMaT’s Disaster and Emergency Management hub, resource persons from DVLA, MTTD, NRSA, GNFS, National Ambulance Service among others took participating drivers and cyclists through defensive Driving and Vehicle Management, Road Safety and Traffic Regulation, Road User Indiscipline, Emergency Response, Fire Safety and Fire Fighting, Drink Driving, Substance Abuse and Security Issues.
The about three weeks road safety training programme conducted in various batches was preceded by sensitization on the road and at lorry stations.
It targeted taxi drivers, long-distance commercial drivers as well as institutional drivers from the mines, schools and public institutions.
Speaking to Citi News on the rationale and expectations of the programme at the Grand Durbar to end the training and presentation of certificates to beneficiary drivers, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UMaT, Prof. Anthony Simons, said the UMaT Disaster and Emergency management Hub is a specialized hub with the objective to ensure maximized community impact in addressing disasters, road accidents and fatalities.
“This training by UMaT became necessary because we saw that we have very deplorable roads and many fatal accidents. So the Emergency Hub carried out a survey to organize refresher courses after engaging the various driver unions who expressed their preparedness to participate in the training with the help of the various stakeholders.”
“What we are expecting from this programme is that we want to improve safety on the roads. As the worrying statistics from the Police MTTD shows, from January to September 2021, 11,558 motto accidents nationwide resulted in 2,126 deaths, a sharp increase of 1,706 motto accident deaths recorded in the same period in 2020. Meanwhile, within the same period, the number of people who have died through road accidents is three times more than deaths as a result of COVID-19. So it is a worrying situation, and we think that going through this programme, we will be able to make our roads safer for all“, he said.
Justifying the importance of the UMaT road safety training for drivers within the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality, Chief Inspector Evans Grunitzky of the Tarkwa Police Divisional MTTD, told Citi News fatal accident cases increased within the municipality between the second and third quarter of 2021 and hoped the training would reverse it.
“In the second quarter of 2021, the Tarkwa-Nsuaem municipality recorded nine motto accidents with six deaths, but this increased to 13 accident cases with eight deaths in the third quarter. With the inception of the UMaT road safety programme, we expect a drastic positive impact on our drivers on the road. The initial benefit we have observed from this training since it started a few months ago is that drivers have realized the mistakes they have been making on the road. With the introduction of the programme, drivers who would not have read the road signs are now abreast with them, so we expect safety on the roads to improve“, he said.
A beneficiary taxi driver, Christopher Banson, told Citi News the training is going to be helpful despite the poor roads they have to ride on.
“I have learnt a lot, and I’ve already improved my driving skills. When we face such challenges as we have learnt here, thus accidents and fire, we know how to manoeuvre. At the time we got our licenses, we didn’t know what we have learnt here now, and I thank UMaT and its partners for this training“, he said.
On his part, the Vice Chairman of the Tarkwa GPRTU Taxi Branch, Daniel Ayim said the UMaT road safety programme will go a long way to protect the lives of both their drivers and passengers.
The Chief Executive of Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality, Benjamin Kesse, who has been a supporter of the UMaT driver road safety programme from its onset, while commending UMaT said the intention of the Assembly is to make the programme one of its key requirements in issuing permits to all commercial drivers and cyclists to operate in the municipality.
The Grand Durbar was preceded by a road accident rescue simulation exercise, speared by the Ghana National Fire Service and the Ambulance Service at UMaT.