How many lives should we lose on our roads?

The carnage on our roads has become one of the causal factors of deaths in Ghana. Various contributory factors have been identified to be the chief agents through which precious lives are lost on our roads. Amongst other factors are poor driving skills, drunk driving, cars with worn-out tyres plying our roads, over-loading, over-speeding, poor nature of our roads, are some of the causes of road accidents in the country. While the afore-mentioned factors cannot be easily dismissed as some of the major factors which lead to thousands of lives being lost in the country, it must also be emphasized, however, that the number one factor causing accidents in the country happens to be stationary or broken-down and abandoned vehicles on our roads. It has been established that about 22% of lives lost on our roads are attributed to broken-down and abandoned vehicles, according to statistics from the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL). To buttress this alarmingly unacceptable figure, let us take a nostalgic journey into time to recall some of the road crashes which had stints with broken-down and abandoned vehicles on our roads. Just a few days ago, players of Kumasi Asante Kotoko travelling to Kumasi after a football match with Inter Allies were involved in a gruesome accident. The team bus crashed into a Rhino truck which had broken down near Nkawkaw, claiming one live and injuring several others. On the 19th day of March, 2017, an ambulance with registration number GV 375-12 which was conveying victims of the Kintampo Waterfalls disaster to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital crashed into a stationary vehicle, killing the driver instantly. An accident involving a mini bus and a DAF truck occurred at Dikpa, near Tinga in the Bole-Bamboi District of the Northern Region claimed 11 lives. The mini bus rammed into the DAF truck, killing 11 precious lives, including one police officer and two children. Okyereko in the Gomoa West District of the Central Region, on the Winneba-Cape Coast Highway recently claimed 10 lives. A Hyundai Grace mini bus and a pick-up crashed into a stationary Mercedes Benz. In the Western Region, in a small town of Dompoase, there lived a young man who popularly called Nana Borro. This 21 year old man lost his live through a motorbike accident, by crashing his machine into a stationary tipper truck. In the early parts of this year, there was a fatal accident in the wee hours of the day involving a taxi car and a broken-down but abandoned bus at the outskirts of Asuodei, near Mankranso in the Ashanti Region. This accident whisked away four precious lives, including the driver and three other ladies. An accident on the Suhum side of the Accra-Kumasi Highway caused a huge vehicular traffic in the town. It took the intervention of tow trucks deployed by the Suhum MTTD Police and R.S.M.S.L to salvage the situation. This singular incident cost the nation a lot in terms of productive hours those affected by the accident wasted. These accidents captured are but a few of the deaths caused by this phenomenon of vehicles left on the roads after breaking down. Should a trip be made down memory lane into years gone by, we can count a number of important personalities who perished through accidents which involved their vehicles and some broken-down vehicles. We lost doctors, pastors, lawyers, etc, in accidents which could have been avoided if we had been proactive in dealing with such issues. A closer look at all these lives lost through accidents which were largely related to broken-down vehicles is indicative of the fact that if pragmatic measures had been adopted, this mind-boggling figure of 22% would not have been attained as the number of people who die through accidents. Impliedly, we wouldn’t be saddled with these outrageous numbers of deaths through accidents on our roads if we had done the needful. This begs the question: What are we doing to reduce the carnage on our roads through this avoidable route? The Government of Ghana, in 2016, enacted a bill into law aimed at levying drivers and car owners with the view to towing away broken-down vehicles which cause many accidents and take away many lives. The towing levy was to begin in May this year, but it was met with tumultuous uproar, forcing the implementation of the law to be shelved indefinitely. Should we look on whilst lives are lost through a system that can be averted? Can’t this gaping hole be blocked once and for all with a decision to allow this towing levy to be rolled out? Nothing under the sun is as precious as human lives. The longer we wait on this, the more bloods we shed. We risk losing more lives as we delay in rolling this levy out. Let us reignite the debate on the towing levy with the ultimate goal of embracing it so that the carnage on our roads would be reduced drastically.

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Source: K. M. Obeng |A concerned road user |Accra.]]>