Road Crashes Claim 2,000 Lives Yearly

An average of six deaths are recorded daily, and 2000 a year through road crashes in the country.

Many victims suffer various injuries, with some sustaining permanent incapacitation.

The Director of Planning and Programmes of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), David Osafo Adonteng, who made this known to The Ghanaian Times yesterday ahead of the celebration of ‘World Remembrance Day of Accident Victims, which is celebrated every third Sunday in November, described the statistics as worrying.

He said the theme for the celebration: ‘Empowering the passenger and pedestrian to demand road safety’, required that all hands should be on deck to help reverse the trend, noting that the Commission’s commitment was to reduce fatalities to a single digit.

Mr. Adonteng said 60 per cent of the victims were aged between 15 and 55, while the estimated cost to the economy was 1.6 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, an equivalent of $419 million dollars as at 2009.

According to him, pedestrians and passengers represented the most vulnerable road users in Ghana, accounting for almost 67 per cent of all road traffic deaths.

Twenty-three per cent of road crash victims, he said, were occupants of public service buses, and 42 per cent were pedestrians who got knocked down while crossing the road.

Mr. Adonteng said the third week of every November, observed as Road Safety Awareness Week, sought to combine nationwide efforts to remind the entire population of critical road safety issues, and to heighten awareness on the need to address those issues at policy implementation at road user levels.

Mr. Adonteng said this year’s road awareness week was looking at the vulnerability of the passengers and pedestrians and what policy makers, implementers, and other stakeholders in the road sector could do to help minimise road traffic crashes, especially during the festive seasons.

He said pedestrians and passengers were yet to assume their frontline roles, as far as road safety improvements were concerned.

“While passengers observe risky conducts of drivers without complaining even at the risk of their lives, pedestrians fail to demand responsibilities from agencies required to provide pedestrian safety facilities for their use, or watch on as the limited facilities available for their use get deteriorated, or encroached upon by others,” he said.

He said the time had come for pedestrians and passengers to speak up against road use misbehaviours and factors that endangered their lives.

Giving the background of the event, Mr. Adonteg said in 1993, a group of traffic victims began advocacy to draw attention to the road traffic crash situation and the plight of crash victims.

He said the UN adopted the idea and set the third Sunday of November every year, as the World Day of Remembrance for the millions either killed or injured in road crashes, and the tremendous cost of those tragedies to their families and communities, as well as the burden of such disasters.

By Francis Asamoah Tuffour & Issaka Adams .

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