Ensuring Driver Responsibilities On The Road

UG ACCIDENT

Generally 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 pedestrians road signs and inexperienced driving on the road. About 67.5 per cent 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 check on motorists by road regulators.

Most inexperienced motorists make use of vehicles at night. Ignorant of the meaning of road signs, such drivers end up misusing and disregarding the signs to the neglect of pedestrians.  Commercial drivers, especially end up wasting the lives of many precious passengers.
The NRSC recorded a large number of road crashes, attributing them to driver inattentiveness and speeding. Together, what also accounted for 65 percent of all crashes was attributed to drivers error.

The NRSC says, nearly 50% of road traffic crashes involve cars but 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 “Beware when driving’, “Don’t drive tired and “Don’t drink and drive” slogans into drivers on the road.

The onus then lies on the NRSC and the MTTU to conscientise drivers by organising training workshops for them to keep them on track to avert further road crashes.  More of these 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 increase awareness of pedestrians and by calling upon every road user, especially drivers, to look out for pedestrians on the roads while in traffic.

It is important that a call is made on commercial and private drivers to have in mind 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 Commission to undertake nationwide road safety education by encouraging the development of road safety education as part of the curriculum and training of teachers in road safety.

With this, one would commend the Commission for its quest to ensure road safety in the country. Additionally, the single digit road safety per cent target that we are all yearning for must not be a dream but should be practicalised and achievable.

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 these vulnerable road users such as 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 road while driving is another cause of crash that creates 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 pedestrian.

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 and help the crusade on road safety which is 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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