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Opinion

ROAD ACCIDENTS: Here Is Why More Ghanaians Will Continue To Perish On Our Roads

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With deep grief and sadness, I had to jump off my restaurant table to put this piece together to express my utmost disgust and revulsion about the increasing number of road accidents in this country following the death of my 10-year-old Niece Frederica Arizie Asiamah which we affectionately called Auntie “Manya” and also almost life loss of my beloved Cousin, Gabriela Keelson who appears to be in a critical condition to the infamous Cape Coast – Komenda accident which claimed 34 lives on the spot.

Isn’t it painful to lose your beloved to the cold hands of death through a road accident? You will understand my feeling when you at one time of your life go through such an ordeal- something I do not wish for you.

Of course, road accidents do happen in every part of the world as it appears to be inevitable in our everyday lives. However, in other parts of the world where systems work, road accidents happen at insignificant time intervals with a very minimal death rate.
For instance, Sweden is one of the countries with the lowest accident rates in the world with very less mortality rate and it is just because motor traffic laws are well observed, offenders are punished per the law.

However, in my ‘shithole’ country called Ghana, The rate at which accidents happen is very worrying. A single accident occurrence can claim 35 lives – This is supposed to be a death record after a terrorist attack somewhere in the world. We only call on God to intervene without calling on the state institutions who are paid with tax payer’s money to do what is required of them to help reduce the carnage on our roads-Of course it cannot be curbed.

The causes of road accidents in this country are a magnified one; from pedestrians, drivers to the government, all are playing roles one way or the other to ensure that we all die one by one through road accidents and it appears nobody cares.

For instance, After residents complained bitterly about the unavailability of footbridges at the Adenta – Madina highway following a massive knockdown of pedestrians who made attempts to cross the road, these same people unintelligently abandoned the same footbridges they cried for after construction because of some stupid reason of the walkway of the bridges been too long. Law enforcement had to be deployed to be watchdogs to ensure that pedestrians used the footbridges by compulsion.

Quite recently, a policeman was seen with a cane trying to discipline the idiots who still never gave a hoot about using the bridges. Isn’t that funny? The mind-boggling question is “When will Ghanaians be self-discipline and do things on their own without supervision?”

Some drivers lack self-discipline. Adherence to road user traffic regulations is synonymous with ‘sucking their blood’. Knowing that the worst that could happen to them in terms of punishment is just to pay GH¢1 to some corrupt police officers on our roads to enable them to be left off the punishment hook, they will continue to misbehave without any sense of care till eternity. Why is law enforcement not applying the law?

Talking about the government, the least said about them, the better. Sometimes I sit and wonder if Ghana has ever had a government that truly cares about Ghanaian other than their cronies and a small section of people called party supporters?
Successive governments have one problem; Fear of losing elections and for that always to do the ‘necessary evil’ to punish law offenders.
I am beginning to subscribe to the assertion always made by good friend Ahomka Biney that governance in Ghana is always about “fine talk, no action”.

Let me ask, what is the role of state institutions established to ensure sanity on our roads especially The road safety commission(RSC) and Ghana Highway Authority(GHA)? These institutions are very much aware of non-compliance with motor traffic regulations by road users and even the government yet they sit unconcerned like ‘dummies’ with no show of commitment to their work. Do they even exist?
A clear example is the Apimanim- Esiama road. This road was constructed quiet recently and the contractors left the site without markings on the road. Who should be blamed if the absence of road markings on that road becomes an immediate or remote cause of an accident? We then end up blaming the devil of something he knows nothing of!

Let’s remind ourselves of section 13 of the road traffic Act-2004 (Act 683). It states that “A person of 18 years or above who drives a motor vehicle on a road, or sits on the front or rear seat of a motor vehicle being driven on a road without wearing a seat belt commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 100 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or to both.”
I wonder the if this law was only enacted for drivers as they are the only category people who are always checked by law enforcement to ensure that they have their seat belts on with passengers at the mercy of death.

Quiet recently, there was a campaign to ensure that all vehicles including “Trotro” have seat belts fixed in their cars. That was a very nice move by the government but someway somehow the agitations by these drivers and same Ghanaians whose lives were at stake threatened the government with votes and just as predicted, the cowardice of the government manifested and nothing was heard about that campaign again.

Again, it is quite unbelievable that successive governments have turned deaf ears to the construction of dual carriage roads on the busy roads where most accidents happen such as Accra – Kumasi, Accra-Takoradi and fixing street lights along our main roads.

Talk of the agencies such as Ghana Highway Authority(GHA) Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority(DVLA), MTTD, Urban roads, etc – Ghanaians are only reminded of their existence when their bosses grant unnecessary interviews after accidents and this makes it looks like Ghana is heading nowhere.

I believe it’s about time we make people get punished for their carelessness and state institutions questioned for their repugnant and lazy activities and negligence of their core mandates otherwise Ghanaians including myself and you should brace ourselves for more carnage on our roads which may gradually lead to all of us leaving this world one by one as we all continue not to draw lessons from past occurrences.

To my beautiful niece, Auntie Manya and all those who perished on the wee hours of Tuesday, 14th January 2020, I know it isn’t your fault. You died because of the weak systems in Ghana. I tearfully wish you all rest in perfect peace. To those who survived including my cousin, Gabriela Keelson, be healed in the name of the Almighty Lord.

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