Road Safety Commission to become authority

The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) will soon be elevated to the status of an ‘Authority’ to enable it regulate institutional standards and enforce compliance with road safety regulations.

Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, told parliament that a bill to that effect will be presented to parliament before end of the year.

The NRSC currently lacks the power needed to enforce compliance with road safety regulations.

“I am pleased to inform you that Cabinet has granted approval to the proposal for the country’s road safety lead agency, the National Road Safety Commission, to be transformed into an Authority,” the minister said.

The new order will give the agency a new mandate to regulate/enforce institutional standards for road safety-related activities, and issue appropriate sanctions for non-compliance.

This will be in addition to its current functions of promoting road safety through education, recommendations, advice, collaboration, coordination and liaison.

The new mandate will also allow it to exact obedience and sanction breaches of road safety standards.

Already, the Commission has been equipped with 10 pick-up vehicles for all the regional offices to intensify road safety education and sensitisation activities across the country, the minister indicated.

He added that the ministry, through the NRSC, has commenced establishingf 100 road surveillance and incident response centres (RoadSIRC) across the national road network.

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These centres will be adequately equipped with requisite logistics and manned by trained personnel from the National Road Safety Commission, National Ambulance Service, Ghana Red Cross Society, NADMO, Ghana National Fire Service and the Ghana Police Service, to carry out 24/7 surveillance of roads so as to identify risky road-user behaviour and respond accordingly with the appropriate actions.

Available statistics on road traffic crashes and casualties for the year, as at October 30, 2018, indicate that 11,159 crashes have been recorded nationwide – involving 18,063 vehicles, including 3,156 motorcyles, which have resulted in 1,921 persons killed and 11,130 persons injured.

Some 2,602 pedestrains were knocked down over this period, of which 626 were killed.

These statistics show an increase in all the parameters, with the exception of pedestrian knockdowns which decreased by 5.48 percent compared to the same period of last year, 2017.

Arrest and prosecute MPs

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has directed that members of parliament who breach road rules and regulations should be arrested.

His comments stem from the fact that some MPs are alleged to use flashing lights as well as sirens on their vehicles, which he says has emboldened them since no action has been taken.

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“It is growing, and emboldening other people who are breaching the rules. Indeed, no member who is not in the security agency is entitled to put those lights, sirens in their vehicles; they are offensive. And so, we should ensure that members who have done that are prosecuted and made to remove them.”

He also indicated that MPs are supposed to be ambassadors of road safety, and it is a responsibility on them to respect the rules.

The Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, urged government to go beyond elevating the NRSC by resourcing it, as well as empowering and training the emergency response teams to handle accident victims.

Member of Parliament for Mpohor, Alex Kofi Agyekum, also called for enforcement and compliance as regards road regulations.

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