In recent times, a number of commercial vehicles have had television sets installed in them, ostensibly to entertain passengers travelling on both long and short distances.
The phenomenon has the public divided over its usefulness or otherwise.
While a section of the public believe that the trend could lead to road accidents since it distracts the attention of both passengers and drivers, others believe it is necessary for the purpose of entertainment.
A commuter, Ms Josephine Lomo-Tettey, was of the view that TV sets were not necessary in vehicles since some create an obstruction and passengers bump their heads on them.
Others also told The Mirror that they preferred buses fitted with TVs because it allowed them to de-stress on their way home after a hectic day at work.
The Head of Communications at the National Road Safety Commission, Mr Kwame Koduah Atuahene, explained to The Mirror that, “installing TV monitors is unlawful only when placed on the dashboard or in front of the driver.”
He said Regulation 189 of the Road Traffic Regulations provides, among others that a person shall not use or operate a television monitor or a similar device on the dashboard of a vehicle while the motor vehicle is in motion.
He was, however, quick to add that the sound level from the device should not be so loud as to distract the driver or disturb the passengers.
He said the essence of TVs in public transport was solely to entertain passengers and make them feel comfortable on their journey.
In principle, he said, commercial drivers did not need permission to install TV monitors in their vehicles provided the sets were placed behind them.
Mr Atuahene noted that the issue of TV monitors in commercial vehicles was new and as such there were no statistics to determine whether it was contributing to accidents or not.
He said even though there might be cases when accidents had been caused due to distraction from the sets, the police always took the necessary actions in line with the law on road accidents.
Mr Atuahene, therefore, urged passengers to take interest in matters regarding their safety, adding “even though it is not unlawful to have TVs in commercial vehicles, their presence could create divided attention which could lead to an accident.”
A number of trotro drivers The Mirror spoke to also claimed that TV sets in commercial vehicles were put in purposely to attract passengers.
The Welfare Chairman of the 37 trotro station in Accra, Mr Kweku Frimpong, was however not happy with the trend.
He said because it was not against the law, even vehicles without enough space in them were forcing to have TV sets installed.
According to him, many accidents had occurred as a result of the TV screens in the buses but the management of the stations could do nothing about the situation since the law enforcement agencies looked on unconcerned.
He said driving required the full and critical attention of the driver, adding that with the TV sets on, the drivers failed to hear unusual noises from their vehicles in order to rectify possible problems.
One driver happily told The Mirror that he had a TV fitted in his vehicle to prevent passengers from interfering with his driving.
“Passengers often like to complain about speed, funny noises and smells from the vehicle, among others, so the TV diverts their attention,” he said.
Source: Daily Graphic
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