Educating Drivers To Be Responsible On The Road

car accidentIn the world, accidents cannot be said to have occurred without pointing fingers at the driver in charge of the vehicle on the road.

The spate of road accidents in Ghana can be attributed to many factors including; drunk driving, over speeding, negligence of checking the vehicle situation before taking off, ignorance of road instructions or road signs.

According to the National Road Safety Commission (NSRC), most road accidents occurred as a result of drunk driving, disrespect of pedestrian road signs and inexperienced driving on the road. About 67.5% of road traffic deaths affect road users between the ages of 16 and 55.

Estimates by NRSC and the Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) indicate that most accidents occurred between the hours of 6.00 pm and 10.00 pm in the evenings. This is due to lack of checks on motorists by road regulators.

Most inexperienced motorists make use of vehicles at night to places. Ignorant of the meaning of road signs, such drivers end up mis-using and disregarding these signs to the neglect of pedestrians.  Commercial drivers, especially end up wasting the lives of many precious passengers on board.

The NRSC recorded a large number of road crashes, attributing them to driver inattentiveness and speeding. Together, what also accounted for 65 per cent of all crashes was attributed to driver’s error.
The NRSC says, nearly 50 per cent of road traffic crashes involved cars, while those involving buses, trucks and motor cycles were mostly fatal.

Projecting the numerous accidents estimated by the NRSC, it is obvious that there is a gap left in the road safety regulation to be filled by the stakeholders on the grounds and if this gap is not sealed, more accidents may occur.

Motorists have neglected their responsibilities because most of them think it is all about driving or controlling a steering wheel without paying attention to laid down rules and regulations.
It is, therefore imperative to inculcate the “Beware when driving”, “Don’t drive tired” and “Don’t drink and drive” slogans into drivers on the roads.

The onus then lies on the NRSC and the MTTU to conscientise drivers by organising training and workshops for them so as to keep them on track on the road to avert further road crashes.  More of such exercises will awaken the drivers on the roads to know their responsibilities as road users.

The “Be alert! Look out for the Road User,” campaign by the NRSC is a good opportunity to beef up awareness of pedestrian challenge by calling upon every road user, especially drivers, to look out for pedestrians on the roads while in traffic.

It is important to remind commercial and private drivers about their responsibilities as major road users and rally behind the campaign by the NRSC and the MTTU in checking and ensuring road safety regulations.
The NRSC was established by an Act of Parliament (Act 567) in 1999, with the mandate to develop and promote road safety and coordinate policies in relation to them.

The Act outlines the functions of the NRSC to undertake nationwide road safety education by encouraging the development of road safety sensitisation as part of the curriculum and training of teachers in road safety activities.

With this, one would commend the NRSC for its quest to ensure road safety in the country but would also say that the single digit road safety per cent target that we are all yearning for, must not be a dream but achievable reality.

Eye contact with pedestrians on the road is an important aspect of driver responsibility in order to avert the menace of persistent road crash.  Though some accidents have been recorded for the first quarter of the year, the death toll was low, compared to the number of injuries.

Drivers disregard pedestrians as road users and fail to look out for such vulnerable road users including children, the aged as well as persons with disability and in the process, knock them down while they use the road.
The use of mobile phones by drivers on the roads while driving is another cause of crashes that create a lot of nuisance to the road system in the country.

It is, however, necessary for the road regulators to critically put measures in place to remind drivers to be alert and look out for the pedestrians.  Drivers should also know that it is their responsibility to have eye contact with pedestrians and be conscious of road signs as well as desist from using phones while driving to avert future accidents.

It behoves on commercial drivers as well as private ones to adhere to traffic rules and regulations in order to bring sanity on our roads. Let us all join hands as one people and help the crusade on road safety being championed by the NSRC since road crashes negatively affect the economy and the development of the country. -Tally Ansah Asiedu

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