The 2022 edition of the Ghana Drivers and Road Safety Awards, has been launched in Accra under the theme: ‘The Role of Information Technology in Promoting Safer Road Users’.
The awards programme complements the efforts of the agencies mandated with driver training and certification, as well as road safety enforcement.
The Ghana Driver and Road Safety Awards, which enters its 5th year, is premised on the knowledge that with safer roads, the risk of traffic crashes is greatly reduced, and the driver is a primary actor in ensuring this.
Further, the awards will see career drivers pitching to win funding for road safety projects in their communities as part of the overall winning package. This goes to the core of raising road safety ambassadors and champions among drivers.
The scheme complements the efforts of the agencies mandated with driver training and certification, as well as road safety enforcement. It also contributes to the United Nations SDG target 3.6 which seeks to halve deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.
It will see career drivers competing for honours in seven categories, including Ride-Hailing Drivers category, School Bus Drivers category, Intercity Category – made up of bus drivers operating from city to city, Intracity category – bus drivers operating within cities, Taxi Driver category, Corporate Drivers category, Heavy Vehicles Drivers category, and the overall best driver in Ghana.
The Digital Driver Education platform
In the quest to further ensure safety, a Digital Driver Education platform was also launched to allow for a free continual road safety education for drivers right on their mobile phones by using bite-sized videos in languages that they understand – also making vital road safety education accessible.
Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia who was represented by Professor Kwaku Appiah-Adu, who launched the awards, welcomed the collaboration between the National Road Safety Authority, Ghana Driver and Road Safety Foundation and other stakeholders, for particularly adopting technology for the award scheme to train commercial vehicle drivers and to recognise their safe behaviour on the road to contribute to the national agenda of reducing road traffic crashes and casualties.
He expressed his excitement that the award scheme is being extended to recognising regions that have demonstrated commitment to road safety by putting in measures to curb road crashes and casualties within the region.
This provides grounds to challenge Regional Ministers, Regional Co-ordinating Councils, Civil Society Organisations, Politicians, Regional Road Safety Stakeholders and the Regional Media fraternity to embrace road safety as part of their regional developmental agenda.
“I, therefore, call upon all regional ministers to champion this within their various regions,” he said.
He also commended the NRSA and the GDRSA for the initiative, and encouraged drivers to participate fully for the benefit of public safety on the roads.
Persistent road crashes demand partnership, multi-disciplinary approach
As road crashes continue to claim many lives, industry players have stressed the need for more partnerships between stakeholders and respective authorities, as well as a multi-disciplinary approach to fighting the perennial problem.
According to the provisional data presented by the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) on road traffic statistics, a total of 8,869 cases were reported involving 15,239 vehicles; casualties comprised of 1,443 fatalities and 9,218 injuries were recorded by July this year.
It added that compared to the same period in 2021, there was a decrease of 6.84 percent in cases reported, 6.08 percent decrease in vehicles involved, 15.42 percent decrease in fatalities, 0.87 percent decrease in persons injured, and 9.2 percent decrease in pedestrian knock-downs.
With this at hand, the Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said tackling the menace requires a multi-disciplinary approach, awareness raising, strict implementation of traffic rules, and scientific engineering measures.
He added that his outfit is also employing measures to ensure that long-distance travelling vehicles are fitted with speed limiters, as well as the introduction of the passenger manifest which will help to capture full details of all passengers who board long-distance vehicles.
“Also, commercial drivers will undergo mandatory annual driver training to upgrade their driving skills in order to stay abreast with the changing features in modern vehicle technologies. This, we believe, will make it easier to trace family members and relatives of these passengers in case of any crashes on the road,” he stated.
He said this at the launch of the 2022 Ghana Driver & Road Safety Awards (GDRSA) on the theme: ‘The Role of Information Technology in Promoting Safer Road Users’ in Accra.
Director of Partnerships – GDRSA Foundation, Freda Frimpong, expressed concern over the grim statistics of the 1.3 million human lives that are cut short annually due to road traffic accidents, implying that one person dies every 25 seconds on average.
“The United Nations Road Safety Fund was right in calling road deaths and injuries a ‘silent epidemic on wheels’. Road accidents cause significant loss to people and their families, and result in substantial economic damage to countries – including Ghana,” she stated.
In the quest to further ensure safety, she said a Digital Driver Education platform was also launched to allow for a free continual road safety education for drivers right on their mobile phones by using bite-sized videos in languages that they understand – also making vital road safety education accessible.
For his part, Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Kwasi Agyeman Busia, noted that while significant investments in road safety continue to be made, without a doubt, much more must be done!