Driving school instructors take on GPRTU chairman who said private drivers are to blame for most accidents

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The Association of Certified Driving Instructors of Ghana (ACDI-GH) has described as unfounded claims by a chairman of the Ghana Private Roads Transport Union (GPRTU) that privately trained drivers contribute more to road accidents in Ghana.

In a media report, the GPRTU Chairman for the Accra-Kaneshie-Cape Coast-Takoradi Station, John Kwesi Ansah, is said to have claimed that more private vehicles are involved in accidents than commercial vehicles.

Mr Ansah also claimed that commercial drivers go through a more thorough training via apprenticeship than private drivers, whom he said receive their licenses after only a few months.

But in a press release dated Monday, September 12, ACDI-GH said the claims are “not factual” and have “no scientific bases”.

“ACDI-GH is by this press release, advising the general public to disregard the ill-fated statement made by the said chairman and treat it with utmost contempt, as it’s not factual and has no scientific bases,” the release signed by the Acting General Secretary of ACDI-GH, Instructor Marshall K.M Bobobee, said.

It further observed that though more private vehicles are involved in accidents, more lives are lost via commercial vehicles.

“Additionally, the data always shows private vehicles involved in accidents or crashes to be more than any other vehicle category because, in registration of vehicles, vehicles owned by individuals, companies or organizations, diplomatic corps and government institutions, are all registered as private vehicles.

“More so, the classification of road accident or crash data for vehicles is put into only three groups, namely Motorcycles (motorcycles, bicycles, handcarts and tricycles), Commercial vehicles (inter-city and intra-city revenue-generating vehicles) and Private vehicles (vehicles owned by individuals, companies or organizations, diplomatic corps and government institutions). So, it is no news that, the number of private vehicles is always more than commercial vehicles and motorcycles involved in road crashes.”

Find the full press release below:

The attention of the Association of Certified Driving Instructors of Ghana (ACDI-GH), has been drawn to claims in the media (sited on GhanaWeb), by one Mr. John Kwesi Ansah, in his capacity as the GPRTU chairman of Accra – Kaneshie – Cape Cost – Takoradi Station, that drivers trained by driving schools, and by extension certified driving instructors, are contributing to the increase in road accidents.

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ACDI-GH is by this press release, advising the general public to disregard the ill-fated statement made by the said chairman and treat it with outmost contempt, as its not factual and has no scientific bases.

ACDI-GH wishes to correct the chairman and draw the attention of the general public to the fact that, although more private vehicles are listed to be involved in crashes as opposed to commercial vehicles and motorcycles, more lives are lost to commercial vehicle accidents than private vehicles. Additionally, the data always shows private vehicles involved in accidents or crashes to be more than any other vehicle category because, in registration of vehicles, vehicles owned by individuals, companies or organizations, diplomatic corps and government institutions, are all registered as private vehicles. More so, the classification of road accident or crash data for vehicles is put into only three groups, namely Motorcycles (motorcycles, bicycles, handcarts and tricycles), Commercial vehicles (inter-city and intra-city revenue-generating vehicles) and Private vehicles (vehicles owned by individuals, companies or organizations, diplomatic corps and government institutions). So, it is no news that, the number of private vehicles is always more than commercial vehicles and motorcycles involved in road crashes.

According to the GPRTU chairman, most commercial drivers learn their trade through apprenticeship. Is his declaration not an indication of substandard training been exhibited by their members? Also, there are no standardized training modules when it comes to driving apprenticeship, as opposed to the coherent and standardized syllabi used in the accredited driver training institutions.

Additionally, experience is gained by practice and exposure. In-line with that, DVLA has different gradings of licences (A, B, C, D, E, & F). From basic driver training course, an applicant acquires a B license, and with two years or more experience, another training and exams is carried out for the next license class if the applicant wishes to upgrade to a higher class of vehicle. In between these upgrades, the driver unions are expected to engage the services of driver training institutions for further trainings, which will help them to be top notch on their job.

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ACDI-GH believes keeping at the job and executing handed down knowledge from master to mate encourages spreading of bad driving habits. Learning scientifically at the driving schools rather encourages the use of good habits.

Additionally, he alleged that drivers trained by driving schools do not have extensive experience. That, their drivers have more experience than them because, their drivers tour all the regions during their apprenticeship, and they look at how their masters drive! If touring regions is a guarantee to experience in driving then some passengers are more experienced drivers although they have never driven a vehicle. He should know that; road conditions and hazards keep changing on every trip.

Also, he asserts that, driving schools train drivers just for four months, and they are on the road. Some also learn at washing bays, amongst others. Adding that, such drivers must be taken through another form of driving training by a commercial driver. Really?

ACDI-GH wishes to state unequivocally that, his assertions are untrue. Driving schools do not train drivers for only four months. We train and get drivers licensed on varied durations per need, usually within three months or beyond. These drivers however undergo rigorous training in all aspects of vehicle management and road traffic regulations amongst others. Unlike their trainees who exhibit aggression and are inconsiderate to other road users, and are largely ignorant of the rudiments of the road.

Drivers from driving schools are mostly much more patient, tolerant and accommodates the mistakes of other road users. So, the said GPRTU chairman’s claim of driving 34 years without an accident does not automatically make him a good driver. He might have been making many driving mistakes which does not result in accidents, not because of his skills and experience, but because of the concentration, observation, anticipation and tolerance skills of other well-trained drivers from the driving schools.

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If the said GPRTU chairman is ignorant of the existing driver training process in Ghana, we are available to help him. Accordingly, we refer him to the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012, L.I. 2180, Reg. 26, which makes it mandatory for all would-be drivers to undergo training at a recognized driver training institution, and not from his association as he is suggesting. His suggestion should rather be the other way around, as the law requires of them in Reg. 125 of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012, L.I. 2180, to visit the training schools for continuing education of commercial vehicle drivers at least once a year. At such trainings, we can help them to tone down on their aggressive behaviours, to have consideration for other road users and drive within the ambits of the road laws.

He further alleged that, speed ramps are causing accidents because, the ramps make drivers tired and also delays their time on the road. It is rather unfortunate this statement is coming from a GPRTU chairman who should know better. Because, speed ramps are a class of traffic calming measures used to slow motor-vehicle traffic in order to improve safety conditions for other road users such as pedestrians. So, is the chairman saying we should sacrifice other vulnerable road users for the comfort of commercial drivers? Unnecessary speeding, inability to interpret road signs and over confidence should rather be sighted as factors of accidents emanating mostly from commercial drivers who are not properly trained.

We at ACDI-GH believe Ghana is making gains steadily pursuant to the existing driver training regime and we must not allow the said chairman to mislead the public. The public is hereby advised to seek driving training from approved driving schools across the country, and while at it, check if their driving instructors are also certified.

We wish to reiterate that; the general public should disregard the unfortunate statement made by the said chairman, as it is unfounded and baseless.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana