CUTS International Accra, a leading public policy think tank with support from the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), has convened the first Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform on Road Safety meeting in Accra.
The platform, among other things, will use evidence and strength-in-numbers to bring about policy changes, amendments and enforcement of various road traffic regulations through dialogue, engagement and advocacy to reduce significantly the current surge in road accidents and pedestrian knockdown.
Speaking at the maiden meeting of the platform, the West African Regional Director for CUTS International, Mr. Appiah Kusi Adomako, explained that currently, road crashes are killing and injuring more Ghanaians than diseases already described as health emergencies. Hence, the government should declare road safety as a public health emergency to enable Parliament to approve more funding for road safety interventions.
This, according to him, should be part of the measures to curb the menace on the roads. “COVID-19 has so far killed 1,459 people in the country while road crashes had been responsible for the death of 1,443 persons between January and July this year,” he added.
Mr. Adomako further argued that the move would empower law enforcement agencies to diligently carry out more road traffic enforcement. He said the numerous fatal road accidents in the country were a result of poor road engineering, absence of street lights, behavioural risk driving including texting or receiving a call while driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.
This, he stated, required a strong road safety policy framework, sustained public awareness campaigns and effective enforcement of road regulations and laws to reduce road traffic injuries and fatalities.
To enhance the advocacy, Mr. Adomako said the platforms of CSOs have been initiated to advocate and engage with policy-makers on matters regarding road safety. “CSOs have over the years played a critical role in engaging with policy-makers and government to advocate reforms aimed at making the country better. Through networking, advocacy and policy engagement, this platform can do a lot of work to cause the government to act on road safety,” he stated.
On his part, the Programme Coordinator for Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety, Mr. Osei Kufour, noted that the platform would hold road safety capacity-building and sensitisation, road safety advocacy campaigns, targetted public awareness campaigns, and collaboration with relevant road safety agencies to ensure effective enforcement of road safety laws.
Mr. Daniel Wuaku, Deputy Director, Planning and Programmes, National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), commended the platform for taking an active interest in the menace of road crashes, saying: “The initiative is timely and good for fighting to end fatal road crashes”.
He noted that the authority would provide the needed support to ensure the desired objectives were achieved.
A Chief Superintendent, Dr. Samuel Sasu-Mensah, Director of Operations, Motor Traffic and Transport Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, said available statistics indicated that drunk driving and over-speeding are the leading causes of road accidents in the country.
He, therefore, charged the road safety platform to collaborate with the relevant authorities to intensify advocacy on drunk driving and over-speeding.
Nana Enu Kpanyili Annor Amihere II, Overlord of Aiyinasi and Basake in the Nzema Area in the Western Region, urged the government to develop the country’s railway system, which is key in reducing road carnage. He also charged all road actors to improve collaboration among themselves to reduce road accidents.