Directive On Seat Belts Won’t Work — GPRTU

Mr. Robert Sarbah,(inset) Greater Accra Regional Chairman, GPRTU, addressing the drivers at the press conference in Hannah Nkrumah.The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has kicked against a directive by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), demanding commercial buses (trotro) to have seat belts for passengers.

The union said its members would not comply with the directive because, “It is too costly and has a very short enforcement period”.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the union, Robert Sarbah, said the DVLA should re-consider the directive to suit the interests of both the DVLA and the GPRTU.

The Chief Executive of the DVLA, Mr. Rudolph Beckley, last July announced that with effect from this month, new commercial vehicles meant for passenger transport service without seat belts would not be registered.

He also stated emphatically that from March next year, the DVLA would not renew the road worthiness certificates of commercial vehicles which did not have seat belts fitted to each seat in line with Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument, LI 2180).

However, Mr. Sarbah explained to the media that the regulation was drafted without the input of stakeholders, including the GPRTU, which controlled about 85 per cent of private road transport operations in the country.

He stated further that, the DVLA did not carry out adequate education on the regulations to sensitise the members of the union on the directive.

“The regulation is unrealistic, as it requires more time and money ranging between GH¢2,000 and GH¢3,000 for the installation, which our members cannot afford,” he said.

According to him, the rationale behind the directive, to ensure a reduction of road accidents by 50 per cent was far from the reality, as many other factors contributed to road accidents, aside from non-availability of seat belts.

He stated that some African countries, including South Africa and Nigeria, had failed abysmally when they tried to implement such laws, saying “A similar thing will happen here if we go in that direction”.

“It is impracticable here, because our buses stop intermittently for passengers to board and alight. Besides, it will create a lot of unemployment, should drivers be deprived of their licences to work, based on their inability to fix seat belts,” he said.

By Charles Amankwa

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