Happy 98.9 FM has set the tone for an accident-free Christmas celebration, with its solution finding programme, Happy Development Dialogues.
The happy Development Dialogues is a concept that seeks to bring together people and institutions from diverse sectors who share the common purpose of creating sustainable solutions. It seeks to bring decision makers closer to the people and advocate for change and growth.
The pre- Christmas edition of the Happy Development Dialogues brought together, stakeholders in the automobile, insurance sector. The stakeholders who participated in the insightful discussion were; General Manager for Donewell Insurance Company Limited, Robert Boateng; and the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Alhaji Ibrahim Abass Moro.
The rest are Business Development Manager at the Road Safety Management Services, Chief Ocran Turkson; Head of Regulations, Inspections and Compliance at the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), Kwame Koduah Atuahene, Engineer Mahama; and complimentary comments from Ghanaian politician, Kofi Akpaloo.
General Manager for Donewell Insurance Company Limited, Robert Boateng expressed the importance of drivers being vigilant on the road, especially during festive seasons.
“As an insurance man I see images of road accidents and it is scary. Because of that I make sure I drive below 80KM/H or 100KM/H. A bank manager who is a client of ours lost all his teeth after a road accident and although we paid him compensation to fix his teeth, we doubt he can ever chew meat again. I see people lose their limbs from road accidents and no matter the compensation they receive, they can never be restored to their former state.”
Public Relations Officer (PRO) Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Alhaji Ibrahim Abass Moro contributing to the discussion noted that often the greater blame for road accidents is placed on drivers.
“Hawkers along major highways like, the Lapaz highway and even at the Central Business District ply their trade almost on the streets and that poses a threat to drivers. Drivers are not protected, property owners also put flowerpots or containers on pavements designated for pedestrians forcing pedestrians to walk on the streets,” he lamented.
Abass Moro called on the relevant authorities to do something about this menace in order to ensure that accidents on our roads are reduced by introducing police highway checkpoints.
On his part, Business Development Manager at the Road Safety Management Services Ltd, Chief Ocran Turkson charged the various authorities to focus on removing abandoned vehicles on our roads if they want to curb road accidents.
To him, policy makers are not tackling the core issue of road accidents in the country but rather focus on issues that cannot be tackled when those that can be solved are often ignored. “We are not tackling the issues we can solve and we are tackling what we cannot solve. The blame must be placed on Ghanaians and policy makers. We have taken our attention from how we can take off the broken cars from the roads to drivers who get drunk in the night to drive.”
He suggested the Ghana Police Service work with other stakeholders to remove all abandoned cars on the road. According to him, if this is not done, the country will continue to record high cases of road accidents.
Head of Regulations, Inspections and Compliance at the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), Kwame Koduah Atuahene championed an increase in penalties for road offences as a deterrent to reckless driving.
“There are quite a number of constraints in the penalty system. For example, fines are not deterrent enough. Say if a driver continues to drive even though he or she may be fatigued, such a person’s fine is only about GH¢120.00. I believe the mild penalties contribute to the continuous misconduct on our roads,” he said.
Kofi Akpaloo, Ghanaian Politician and businessman accused regulatory bodies of contributing to the increasing incidents of road accidents. According to him, road accidents in the country can be reduced if institutions responsible for road safety, are efficient and effective in executing their mandate.
Director of Broadcasting for Global Media Alliance Broadcasting Company (GMABC), parent company of Happy98.9FM, Timothy Karikari submitting the closing remarks at end of the dialogues posited, “road safety has become an increasing concern in Ghana especially during festive seasons and as part of our contribution towards safety this festive season, we decided to climax the development dialogues series with this all-important discussion.
With stakeholders sharing insights and advice with listeners and viewers, the takeaway identified in this discussion was driver caution. We plead with every road user to be vigilant to end this year and start the 2022 whole to avoid causing family and friends pain and grief.”
Global Media Alliance Broadcasting Company (GMABC) has dedicated the months of November and December to sharing educative and informative discussions on all issues that focus on road safety and automobiles. The campaign has Donewell Insurance as main partner with supporting partners as CFAO Motors Ghana Ltd., Loyalty Insurance and Johanni Auto Cool Ltd. and Ghanaweb as a media partner.