The National Road Safety Authority (NSRA) has indicated that it will publish a compliance audit report on commercial passenger road transport operators as part of the broader measures to reduce road traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.
Speaking prior to the Easter festivities, Kwame Koduah Atuahene, Director of Regulations, Inspections and Compliance at NRSA, disclosed that “the report is intended to improve safety or operational controls and drive consumer choices. Knowing the quality of service is poor, or a product is unsafe, the reasonable consumer is likely to seek safer options. On the other hand, a diligent service provider may likely take his consumers serious when faced with a threat of non-patronage on account of poor quality of service. The Authority owes the public that information, and we shall not renege on our responsibility’.
Mr Kwame Koduah Atuahene explained further that though the timelines for the directives had elapsed, some of the operators requested for an extension of time to aid their adaptation to the new expectations.
“The adaptation period or honeymoon is over. We have targets to meet, and we consider the timing appropriate to crack the whip, and that starts with the publication of the report”.
As part of measures to improve the quality of service for commercial operators, the Authority, in March 2021, issued some regulatory directives on relay driving for long distances, logbooks, refresher training for commercial drivers, among others, to Commercial Passenger Transport Operators providing Inter-City services excluding trotro operations.
The directives followed a series of road traffic crash investigations involving high occupancy commercial passenger vehicles.
The directives as issued by the NRSA were as follows;
1. All target operators must assign two drivers to all trips over 8hrs or 500km and submit a journey plan for all such routes. This is enforceable from April 1st, 2021.
2. All Target Operators must train their drivers in Defensive Driving by standards approved by the Authority & DVLA. This is enforceable from July 1st, 2021
3. All Target Operators are required to introduce the use of vehicle log books to help enforce the protocols on maximum driving hours & high speeds. This is enforceable from April 1st, 2021
4. All Target Operators shall be required to appoint Road Safety Officers responsible for conducting pre-departure checks at all terminals. The Operators shall notify the Authority of the appointment on or before April 1st, 2021.
5. All Operators providing inter-city services shall fit retro-reflective tapes approved by DVLA on their vehicles per Regulation 80 of L.I.2180.
This shall be enforceable on April 1st, 2021.
Consequences for Non-Compliance
According to the NRSA, to ensure enforcement of these directives, Road Safety Inspectors appointed by the Authority shall conduct a random and periodic operational audit at target terminals.
All such transport operators who fail to comply with these directives issued under Act 993 shall be subject to the following consequences;
1. Compliance Notice;
2. Suspension of Operations; or
3. Imposition of an Administrative Penalty of between 5,000-20,000 penalty units depending on the nature of the breach and consequences for public safety.