The New Times Corporation (NTC), publishers of Ghanaian Times and The Spectator, yesterday launched a road safety campaign to help curb increasing cases of road crashes in the country.
On the theme “Road Safety in Ghana: Preserving lives, Sustaining our Nation,” the campaign is in partnership with the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) and the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service.
It would focus on series of activities including sensitisation exercises in lorry stations in Accra, aimed at causing attitudinal changes in drivers and pedestrians as well as enforcing the road traffic regulations.
Launching the campaign in Accra, Managing Director of NTC, Martin Adu-Owusu, said road crashes was a perennial problem in the country resulting in many avoidable deaths.
Road indiscipline, he explained, had been identified as the major contributory factor in the occurrence of the crashes.
To this end, he said the campaign was to help check acts of recklessness and indiscipline on the country’s roads.
Referring to road accidents statistics this year, Mr Adu-Owusu noted that 13,242 road crashes were recorded between January and October, an increase of 10 per cent compared to the same period last year.
These statistics, he said, required concerted efforts from both public and private institutions toward curbing road carnages and protecting lives and property.
“As a state-owned media organisation with the mandate to inform and educate the public, we have a moral responsibility to support and intensify the fight against road indiscipline and bring down significantly, if not stop the number of unwarranted deaths on our roads,” he stated.
Mr Adu-Owusu said that the NTC would deepen partnership with other stakeholders to continue to dialogue on strategies necessary to address issues on road safety.
Director-General of the NRSA, Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, said human behaviours and failings were the highest contributor to road crashes and death, constituting about 90 per cent of cases. These failings and behaviours include speeding, wrongful overtaking, damaged road infrastructure, among others.
She indicated that road crashes between January and October this year resulted in the death of 2,300 persons while 12,800 others were injured.
Beyond the loss of lives, she said, road crashes had led families into abject poverty and deprived the country of valuable human capital, adding that “about 1.6 per cent of our GDP, translating to over 160 million dollars is lost annually to road crashes.”
Mrs Obiri-Yeboah noted that the campaign was in line with the Stay Alive initiative launched by the Authority to make road users more conscious and involved in clamping down on road crashes.
She was confident the NTC would play a leading role in road safety awareness creation and advocacy to address the canker.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Martin Ayih, Commanding Officer of the Central/ MTTD, said road safety was a shared responsibility and cautioned drivers against drunk-driving and the use of mobile phones while driving.
He further advised road users to familiarise themselves with road codes and follow the right procedures in managing stationed vehicles on highways.
He said the MTTD had improved enforcement of road regulations through the installation of cameras at various intersections to help deal with unscrupulous road users.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS & CECILIA LAGBA