INTRODUCTION: Within a spate of first 100days in the year 2021, Ghana has recorded over 770 deaths on our roads ONLY. Suggestions have been professed by many well-meaning citizens and institutions; ranging from intelligent ones like relooking our vehicle inspection and licencing regime to ridiculous ones like the re-introduction of the aborted towing levy. In this article, I wish to focus on the driver as a key agent in our helpless state of deaths on our roads.
THE DRIVER: There are three angles to road accidents among many others; the vehicle, the driver, and the road. The vehicle and the roads are uncontrolled inputs with the driver as the only controllable input. It is rather unfortunate that the driver who becomes the key safety agent is not well assessed before granted license to drive. Driver’s License is still for sale in Ghana. The so-called driving test conducted by DVLA is just a formality to those who are able to pay. While cash-for-license has almost been institutionalised and no one seems to care any longer, I wish to redirect our attention to the driver as an agent of road safety.
MY PROPOSAL: I wish to propose that drivers seeking commercial driver’s license are interviewed and taken through CONTINUOUS complementary Ethical training and personality re-orientation before driving a commercial vehicle. This proposed specialised personality re-orientation course for commercial drivers should run on Weekends (Sundays) over at least a one-month period for all drivers before access is given to a commercial vehicle. The Kumasi Technical University’s Institute of Research Innovations and Development (IRID) and other Universities in Ghana with the capacity should spearhead this very important proposal. This proposed special adults Ethical training should be designed and delivered in the person’s local language and examined for assurance of assimilation and delivery ability. Certificate of Training should be given to drivers at the end of training. Let’s give it urgent consideration.
JUSTIFICATION: Literature suggests that, premium should be placed on the Ethical Personality of carriers of human samples along with their operational licenses. There are three types of ethical personalities; the Consequentialist, the Deontologist and the Virtuous. Each driver as a carrier of human samples may also require a complimentary training on these important ethical personality re-orientation concepts before driving a commercial vehicle.
· The Consequentialist driver sees goodness as primary. His driving decisions are therefore led by acts that maximises the general good of his passengers. He can over-speed or under-speed provided it suits his passengers. Whether right or Wrong is not his concern. Once his decision will amount to the general good of his passengers, he is fine with it. Such a driver may need this proposed special adult training.
· The Deontologist driver insists on his rights. His driving decisions are therefore based on his right of use of road as against the general good. He will always insist on his right whether or not it has good or bad consequences. The question is, what is right? And why should right be applied subjectively and haphazardly. Such a driver may need this proposed special adult training, designed and delivered in the person’s local language and examined for assurance of assimilation and delivery ability.
· The Virtuous driver will act to reflect his upbringing and views of what is a morally accepted practice. He is a direct reflection of his beliefs about road accidents, expectation management, respect for colleague driver, general humility, respect for law and order, respect for human life etc. In fact, many of us can easily identify a virtuous driver if we see one. The rule is that, if the person driving the vehicle is NOT virtuous, his judgments on the road is likely to bring fatal results.
Each of these require some level of CONTINUOUS complementary ethical training and personality re-orientation before driving a commercial vehicle.
CONCLUSION: Let’s team up to fight road accidents focusing on the driver. The road is an uncontrollable input, governments should get serious in fixing them; the Vehicle is also an uncontrollable input, it doesn’t move on its own. Let’s focus a lot more on the personality of the driver whose actions and inactions results in the carnages on our roads. The National Road Safety Authority and the Driver Vehicle and Licencing Authority should liaise with Kumasi Technical University and other Universities with the capacity to advance this proposal. Souls are perishing and we need to act fast.
Our prayer is with survivors receiving medical attention in our various hospitals and homes. Our condolences to families who have sadly lost their loved ones to road accidents. May the Souls of all the departed rest in perfect peace.
God bless our homeland Ghana. Amen
DR. SMART A. SARPONG/ Snr Research Fellow – CSSR, Kumasi Technical University] [email protected] \ Tel: +821044028091/+233244028091
Source: DR. SMART A. SARPONG
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