Do more to check road crashes!

It is good news to learn that the number of deaths resulting from motor accidents last year was lower than that of 2021, yet this is not anything to be happy about.

Last year, 2,373 deaths were recorded against 2,970 in 2021, which represents a 20.10 per cent decrease.

Besides the deaths, 15,690 injuries were documented last year as against 15,935 injuries in 2021, representing a 1.54 percentage decrease.

There were also pedestrian knockdowns with a break­down of 2,680 last year and 2,973 in 2021, which indi­cates a 9.86 percentage fall last year. (See our story on page 13 for related details).

We agree that the fall in deaths and injuries is some­thing to celebrate but dis­agree that the situation is phenomenal as it is being touted by certain people and in some quarters.

The fall in the figures, apart from those of the deaths, are not significant enough to be celebrated.

Even the loss of one life is too precious to be just a figure for statistics.

Deaths from accidents are premature and the implications for families, communities and the whole country are varied and dire.

Since the deaths involve both sexes and all the age categories, we can say some of the dead could be budding lives whose chapters of life have been curtailed, whereas others were breadwinners and the hope of families in particular.

Even the elderly per­sons among the dead may be people families wish they were around for one reason or another.

The injuries can maim the victims either for life or in a way that would make life somehow diffi­cult for them.

We think that there can be accidents but a good number of them can be avoided and this can be done particularly through the efforts of the current frontline stakeholders.

The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) can do all it can, but greater responsibility is on drivers and their unions, the Driver and Vehi­cle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the police, as well as the government.

In fact, studies have shown that most road crashes are as a result of driver misbehaviour, which includes reck­lessness on the road, overloading, irregular maintenance of vehicles, disregard for road safety rules and regulations; and disrespect for promptings of passengers, particularly with regard to speeding.

 These negative acts can be checked and the best insti­tutions to do so are drivers’ unions, the NRSA, the police and the DVLA by being strict in their various roles.

The DVLA, for instance, must not give road-worthy certificates to cover rickety vehicles and the police must do proper checks on the road, not the superficial thing they are doing on the road today.

It seems punishments for driver misbehaviour is not de­terrent enough, so Parliament should consider enacting laws that the courts can use to rein in erring drivers.

The causes of road acci­dents include bad roads, so the government must fix bad roads, provide more and du­alise major highways such as Accra to Takoradi and Accra to Kumasi.

The negative socioeconom­ic impact of road crashes are too dire to be tolerated, so everything possible must be done to check the crashes.

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