A total of 1,585 people lost their lives to road accidents across the country from January to August, this year.
The carnage resulted from 9,205 crashes involving 15,459 vehicles over the eight-month period.
According to the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), motorcycles popularly known as “Okada” accounted for the highest number of deaths with 643 lives, followed by commercial vehicles, 596 and private vehicles, 346.
The number comprised 1,275 males 310 females, the NRSA said.
Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, Director-General of the NRSA, addressing journalists yesterday on the road safety situation on the back of the upsurge in crashes in the last few weeks, said the country had seen a marginal increase in the number of crashes, deaths and injuries compared to same period last year.
She said though the country recorded a 14-per cent reduction in fatalities from January to May, largely due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ease of them from June this year saw a rise in road accidents as with more motorists on the roads.
“Particularly disturbing is the number of child fatalities arising from the incidents, which has been quite low in the last 10 years. However, there is a 17.6 per cent reduction in pedestrian knockdowns,” she stated.
Ing. Obiri-Yeboah indicated that 70 per cent of the accidents had occurred on “flat straight roads”, which emphasises the need for increased sensitisation of motorists to road safety rules as stakeholders intensified steps of implementing and enforcing regulations on road safety.
To this end, the Director-General said the Authority had renewed partnership with the media to roll out a campaign dubbed “Arrive Alive”, to increase visibility and information on road safety.
“We plan to complement this with opportunities that are available from social media to reach out to many road users as possible as we continue to deploy road safety inspectors at major road transport terminals to conduct checks of vehicles and drivers before journeys, to minimise risk of crashes,” she said.
Mrs Obiri-Yeboah called on politicians to appoint road safety officers in line with “Road Safety Code for Political Parties”, as they embarked on campaigns ahead of the general election.
“These road safety officers will have the responsibility to ensure internal controls and implementation of best practices on road safety protocols for the greater good of the campaign, protect their supporters and road users as well,” she urged.
Asked the position of the NSRA as regarded the legalisation or otherwise of “Okada”, the Engineer stated that the Authority will “go by any policy direction the government takes on the matter. Ours is to protect Ghanaians and make sure every road user is safe.”
DSP Alexander Obeng, the Director in charge of Education, Research and Training of the Motor Traffic Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, called for the dualisation of the country’s major international routes, which account for majority of the road crashes.
He mentioned major routes such as the Elubo-Accra-Aflao road, Nsawam-Suhum-Nkwakaw, Nkwakaw-Ejisu-Suame-Techiman, and Buipe-Paga as well as the N1 Highway as those which needed to be dualised.
Mr Affail Monney, the president of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), pledged the commitment of GJA members to the cause of road safety, explaining that the media “would use their power as watchdogs of the country to address road safety issues right from the root cause by naming and shaming authorities who fail to perform their duties and exposing factors that result in the loss of innocent lives”.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH AND BENJAMIN ARCTON-TETTEY