OF FUNERALS, POLITICAL PARTY CAMPAIGNS AND ROAD TRAUMA

One important issue that appears not to attract serious attention during political party campaigns and performance of funerals is the incidence of road trauma or road crashes.

Road crash is a major issue of public health concern in Ghana. It is estimated that Ghana loses 230 million dollars yearly through road crashes with more than 1,600 deaths. Ghana is said to be among the road crash-prone countries.

We are told that 90 per cent of road crashes occur in low and middle income countries like Ghana and it affects age group 15-49 years who are the productive workforce.

It is estimated that road crashes would become the number one cause of death in Ghana by 2020; just two years to come. When that happens it would result in economic losses to individuals, families and the nation as a whole.

Often times some of the victims in road crashes are bread winners of a family; their death results in the loss of livelihood and aggregate poverty.

Don’t doubt that every Ghanaian is at risk of being involved in road crash since every day of our lives we use the road as drivers, passengers and pedestrians. A lot is being done to ensure road safety in the country but road crashes continue to haunt us due to speeding, drunk-driving, disregard for road signs, badly designed roads, to mention but a few.

Although road crashes  are  virtually daily occurrences, it is estimated that they occur mostly  during festive occasions like Easter and Christmas when people travel a lot and commercial drivers try to cash on the season, and in the process lose their heads on the road.

Arguably, political party campaigns and funerals constitute two major risk factors in road crashes in Ghana and the issue appears to be lost on funeral organisers and leadership of political parties.

During electioneering campaign, political party supporters travel a lot across the length and breadth to interact with the electorate and solicit their supports in elections. In so doing, they are sometimes involved in road crashes largely through the overzealousness of their supporters and loyalists who are on the political campaign trail.

We appeal to leadership of political parties to make road safety a major issue in their political activities. They can do this by forming road safety committees to raise awareness among their rank and files.

Of concern also to us and to Ghanaians in general is the conduct of some people in funeral processions, especially during the journey to the cemetery. This is common in the Accra metropolis and most urban cities. Indeed, funeral processions have become uncontrollable and reckless!

Sometimes the police become helpless in checking this recklessness. It makes no sense for anyone to get injured or die in the processes of burying the dead?

It is our considered opinion that the police, for that matter the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service, must look seriously at controlling funeral procession.

We, therefore, appeal to all stakeholders to step up efforts in checking over zealousness, especially in the heat of electioneering campaigns and during funeral processions, by enforcing the traffic regulations.

We need to be safe because Ghana needs us alive!

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