The Upper East Regional Office of the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) as part of efforts to ensure discipline on the road and reduce the increasing trend of road crashes has begun conducting pre-departure checks on all intercity vehicles in some major lorry terminals in the region.
The exercise, led by the Regulatory, Inspection and Compliance (RIC) Directorate of NRSA started on Monday May 10, 2021 at the main Bolgatanga GPRTU station and is expected to continue at all other major inter-city lorry terminals in the Upper East region.
All intercity vehicles including Kumasi and Accra bound buses are subjected to thorough checks before departure. NRSA inspectors begin by inspecting the license of the driver, time of his last trip, whether he is on medication or under the influence of alcohol.
The attention is then shifted to the vehicle with the Inspectors checking if seatbelts for both the driver and passengers are available and functioning, if the vehicle is equipped with fire extinguisher and a pair of warning triangle. They also check the vehicle’s lighting system, tyres and insist that every vehicle travelling a long distance has two drivers for the trip.
Planning Manager of the Upper East Regional Office of the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), Sheriff Appiah noted that the NRSA since becoming an Authority has employed about 100 Road Safety Inspectors and they have all been posted across the 16 regions of Ghana to regulate the commercial transport space.
“Our target is to ensure that the driver and the vehicle even before departure are fit for the journey. We also use the opportunity to educate the passengers and empower them to be alert throughout the journey” he added.
Mr. Appiah issued a stern warning to commercial transport managers who fail to use two drivers for long distance journeys, adding they would be sanctioned. He said, “the law gives us the authority to prevent any vehicle that fails our pre-departure checklist from moving including vehicles that do not have 2 drivers for long distance journeys, and we are determined to do just that. Our ultimate aim is to reduce road traffic crashes by tackling the problem from its root cause”.
Thirty-six-year old Nurudeen Musah, a bus driver at the GPRTU main station in Bolgatanga after successfully going through the exercise commended NRSA for what he describes as proactive measures to curb the menace of road traffic crashes.
“This is the first of its kind since I started working here for the past 8 years; my only hope is that the exercise is sustained” he said.
His sentiments were not different from that of Daniel Opoku, a mini-bus driver who operates from Bolga to Kumasi. He however called for more sensitization as the exercise comes as a surprise for most drivers.
According to the Upper East Regional Office of the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) about 50 buses and mini-buses, 30 drivers and over 500 passengers were reached in the weeklong pre-departure check exercises at the Bolgatanga GPRTU main station alone. The exercise according to the Institution is being undertaken simultaneously in all the 16 regions of the country.