Give passengers special stake in road safety

Our lead story to­day is about the loss of seven lives and injuries of seven others in an accident that occurred at Gomoa Antseadze, a com­munity about 10 minutes’ drive from Apam Junction towards Mankessim in the Central Region.

Even though the accident statistics for the first month of the year are yet to be com­piled, we think the situation in its first two weeks, accord­ing to information available to us, is very worrying and something urgent must be done to stem the tide.

On January 7 we reported two deaths in a road crash on the Tema Motorway; and then on January 10, another two deaths at Potsin, a place between Kasoa and Winneba roundabout.

Viewing the situation against accident statistics in the country such as those we published on January 11 in which 2373 lives were record­ed as having perished and 15,690 injured in 2022, we think there is the need for all stakeholders to increase their

 efforts to ensure road safety.

The major stakehold­ers are National Road Safety Authority (NRSA); drivers and their unions; the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, the police, and parliament, as well as the government.

In our editorial of Jan­uary 11, we made a point that “studies have shown that most road crashes are as a result of driver mis­behaviour, which includes recklessness on the road, overloading, irregular maintenance of vehicles, disregard for road safety rules and regulations; and disrespect for promptings of passengers, particularly with regard to speeding.”

We can say that in just three days, we are vindi­cated as a survivor’s re­port about the Antseadze accident has it that the passengers on the Sprinter mini-bus involved in the accident cautioned the driver against his reckless driving, including speed­ing, but he ignored the warning.

Eyewitnesses also say the driver was speeding and in the process lost control of the steering wheel and ran into a ditch.

There is no doubt that the NRSA in particular is doing all it can to ensure road safety but drivers are a huge problem because some of them abuse drugs, whereas others are influenced by the greed for money and so do their own thing on the road.

 And it is an open secret that the police receive financial favours from drivers and so do sloppy road checks, which gives commercial drivers in particularly the tacit push to misbehave on the road.

Drivers usually claim that it is only when it comes to the crunch that they would be prosecuted, which is sad and worrying.

We have been consistent in saying that road checks in the country is on the low ebb and so efforts must be made to improve the situation to save life and property.

We believe one way to improve the situation is to in­volve passengers and this can be effective when a law gives them some power.

This may sound strange but we believe if drivers are made aware that passengers have some authority over them, they would, at least, reduce their recklessness.

After all, accidents affect passengers more than others and so they should be given special stake in road safety in the country.

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