A total of 1,443 people have died through road crashes between January and July this year.
Also, 9,218 injuries were recorded within the same period in 8,869 cases reported involving 15,239 vehicles.
According to Minister of Transport, KwakuOforiAsiamah, the statistics, as compared to the same period last year, represented 15.42 per cent decrease in fatalities and 0.87 per cent decrease in persons injured.
These was contained in a speech read on his behalf in Accra yesterday at the launch of this year’s Ghana Driver and Road Safety Awards slated for December.
Organised by the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) in partnership with the Ghana Driver and Road Safety Awards Foundation (GDRSA), the event would be on the theme, “The Role of Information Technology in Promoting Safer Road Users.”
The awards is aimed at recognising and rewarding drivers, individuals, organisations and institutions for practising road safety in the use of the road, particularly as drivers and related activities over the past year in support of national efforts towards ensuring safer roads in the country.
Citing provisional data by the NRSA on road traffic statistics, MrAsiamah said, the first half of the year also saw a decrease of 6.84 per cent in cases reported, 6.08 per cent decrease in vehicles involved, and 9.20 per cent decrease in pedestrian knockdowns.
To tackle the menace, he noted the need for a multi-disciplinary approach including awareness creation, strict implementation of traffic rules and scientific engineering measures.
He stated that, among other things, the government was working to ensure that long distance travelling vehicles were fitted with speed limiters as well as the introduction of the passenger manifest which would help to capture in full, details of all passengers who board long distance vehicles to be able to trace their family members and relatives of passengers in case of any crashes on the road.
Additionally, MrAsiamah said commercial drivers would undergo mandatory annual driver-training to upgrade their driving skills in order to stay abreast of the changing features in modern vehicle technologies.
He commended the NRSA and the Ghana Driver and Road Safety Awards Foundation (GDRSA) for instituting the awards to reward deserving drivers thereby motivating commercial drivers to be of good behaviour adding that the rate of crashes on roads would be considerably minimised if the activities were sustained.
Professor Kwaku Appiah-Adu, Senior Advisor to the Vice President, said, although technology was becoming increasingly sophisticated and enabling people to drive faster, comfortably and safely, there was the need to ensure that it was used responsibly and cautiously while driving, in order to avoid crashes and injuries and promote the development and use of intelligent transport systems.
Among other initiatives, he stated that, the Ghana Police Service would commence the deployment of traffic enforcement cameras for detection, apprehension and electronic issuance of traffic fines under the Traffitech-GH Project before the end of the year.
In addition, he said, the government was undertaking long-term measures including the development of the automobile industry, expansion and rehabilitation of the roads such as the Pokuase Interchange, Beach Road Rehabilitation Project, dualisation of Nsawam to Apedwa highway and construction of by-passes at Osino, Anyinasin, Anyinam and Konongo on the Accra-Kumasi Highway to reduce road crashes.
Acting Director-General of the NRSA, David Osafo Adonteng, said awards schemes have become useful tools to encourage and motivate the public to accept behavioural change road safety campaigns.
He noted that, since its inception, beneficiaries have received free road safety training and have been admitted into the National Road Safety Advocacy and Communication Groups to help in the delivery of road safety services.
MsFreda Frimpong, Director of Partnerships, GDRSA, said the awards was designed to complement the efforts of the agencies mandated to provide driver training and certification as well as road safety enforcement, thereby contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3.6 which seeks to half deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS