Parliament urges intensive road safety education to curb increasing road fatalities

Parliament on Tuesday urged stakeholders in the road safety sphere to mount an intensive educational drive on road traffic signs and regulations and the consequences of flouting highway rules to curb the increasing number of fatal accidents in the country. The lawmakers contended that apart from engineering flaws, the major reason for bloodshed on the roads was attitudinal and that it was time that authorities enforced speed limits and meted out stiff punishments to road traffic offenders. The legislators made these recommendations when contributing to statements made by the members of parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogo, Emanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko and MP for Okaikwei Central, Patrick Yaw Boamah on the floor of parliament to draw attention to the need to pursue critical interventions to address the worrying safety issues on the country�s roads, particularly the N1 Highway in Accra. Mr Agyarko noted that given the economic development that had occurred in the country over the last twenty years, commensurate steps had not been taken to address safety issues that came with modern roads. He said there was urgent need to put in place the necessary measures through education, enforcement and improving emergency services to stop the unnecessary haemorrhage of lives. Mr Agyarko said that if the UN�s recommendations for Road Safety, which has been incorporated into the National Road Safety Commission action plan, was supported and fully implemented, casualties from accidents would be minimized. Mr Joe Gidisu, MP for Central Tongu, in his contribution, also called for increased education of the public on road safety issue to bring the menace under control. He said even though there were outstanding works to be carried out by government when the N1 Highway was commissioned, road users should understand and respect that the road was a highway. He said that measures were being taken to construct more footbridges over that road to forestall the occurrences of fatalities resulting from people crossing the speedway. Dr. Richard Anane, MP for Nhyiaeso, said that it was unacceptable that in two years the N1 Highway had recorded 339 accidents leading to the death of 43 people, saying that if certain safety facilities like subway passages and the requisite foot bridges were made for people to cross the road, the situation could have been avoided. �We need to tell our road engineers to move away from their allergy to safety measures...they must learn to install safety facilities on our road to prevent los of lives and property�. Benita Okity-Duah, MP for Lezdokuku on her part, asked that Motor Traffic and Transport Unit of the Police service to check the use of mobile phones by drivers and the Ghana Private Road Transport Union to enforce the ban on the sale of alcohol at lorry stations to ensure safety on the roads. Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, MP for Old Tafo, said the consultant�s report on the N1 Highway suggested the construction of seven overheads to aid the crossing of pedestrians, insisting that resources should be found to complete those structures on that road. He suggested that the next budget should include resources to help mitigate the carnage on that stretch of road and also called for public education on road safety regulations. Alhaji Amin Aminu Sulemani, MP for Sissala West and Minister for Road and Highways, identified indiscipline and the disregard for traffic regulations by drivers and pedestrians as a major cause of road accidents, urging Ghanaians to be mindful of road signs and to observe speed limits. He said the Ministry was in the process of constructing six additional footbridges on the N1 Highway and further studies were being carried out to provide a similar facility at the Okponglo Intersection at Legon. The Minister pleaded with his colleagues to desist from intervening when people committed road traffic offences to enable the law to take its course. Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, MP Abuakwa South, called for stricter sanctions on those who killed and maimed others on the road due to recklessness.