Time to halt carnage on the road!

If there are things society can wish away, road crash would definitely be one of them.

This is because road crash cause injuries and premature deaths among the budding, energetic and productive bracket of the society.

Is it not sad to learn from a World Health Organisation (WHO) report published online on June 20, this year that road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death of children and young adults aged 5-29 years and that approximately 1.3 million people die each year?

Just last Friday a lecturer and three female students of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) lost their lives in an accident at Apirede in the Okere District of the Eastern Region, with other passengers sustaining life-threatening injuries.

These are truly budding, energetic and productive individuals whose lives have been cut short by the

recklessness of a driver taking themon an educational trip to Mount Afadja, otherwise known asAfadjato, in the Volta Region.

Last Thursday, the Ghanaian Times published the news that 1,443 people died and 9,218 suffered injuries through road crashes from January and July this year, which is a period of 212 days.

Going by the number of days, we can say that seven  people died and 43 got injured daily from January 1 to July 31.

This is unacceptable because the associated pain and the implications of socioeconomic loss cannot be quantified in real terms; they are unimaginable.

It is on record that more than 90 percent of road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with the injury and death rates being highest in the African region and lowest in the European region.

Besides, the record has it that even within the high-income countries, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to be involved in road traffic crashes.

Since Ghana is said to be a middle-income country and yet most of its population falls within the lower-income category, this evidence should prompt the government to plan what to do to effectively check the carnage on the country’s roads.

Road crashes everywhere are attributed to the driver’s psychology or poor behavior; poor road infrastructure; non-effective or inadequate safety regulations; corruption on the part of the police, especially in developing nations, among other risk factors.

However,the contrast between the poor and the rich must engage attention as there seems to be a lesson to be learnt from it to help reduce road crashes and related miseries in poor countries.

Ghana must be the first to go into this because even after promulgating the National Road Safety Commission Act, 1999 (NRSC Act 567) that mandated the Commission to provide strategic leadership for developing and implementing interventions and measures towards a sustainable management of road safety in Ghana, road crashes keep increasing.

The country must be serious with road safety henceforth in order to, at least, meet the target of the UN Decade of Action of Road Safety tohalve deaths and injuries by 2030.

That road safety action plan is meant to address the ‘five pillars of safety, namely better road safety management, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer road user behaviour and better post-crash response.

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