The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) has given strong indications that the full potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) between member states may not be achieved if the country fails in committing to work to reduce the carnage on roads.
Ghana continues to record road fatalities among tourists, traders and heavy-duty truck drivers transporting goods from neighbouring countries.
According to the NRSA, there is an urgent need for government to fully commit resources to ensure the safety of all persons on roads as road safety remains vital to the success of AfCFTA.
The Eastern Regional Director of the National Road Safety Authority, Mr. Daniel Hardy Wuaku told Citi News on the sidelines of a public lecture to commemorate the 7th UN Global Road Safety Week Celebration in Koforidua under the theme “Rethink Mobility”.
“This is going to involve the movement of goods and services, people and vehicles. If movements are not done in a safe manner, we will not be able to achieve the potential of AfCFTA. Because if we are experiencing the crashes we are experiencing now, and we don’t do anything about it, it will get worse. Road safety is very key to the successful operations of AfCFTA,” he noted.
The Eastern Region contributes 10 percent of the country’s crashes and 18 percent of fatalities in the country, a situation the NRSA has expressed worry about.
Mr. Daniel Hardy Wuaku further called on drivers, road users, and enforcement agencies to deepen collaborations to help change the narrative of the Eastern Region being the 3rd region with regard to road fatalities.
“The threat of road carnages on human existence is so disturbing, we need to ensure proper enforcement is brought to bear so that all of us will pay heed to stop this misbehaviour on our corridors,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council says all 33 MMDAs in the region will soon begin pulling down unauthorized billboards and structures at intersections which blur the vision of drivers and road users and contributes to accidents in the region.
Available statistics show that for the first quarter of this year, the region recorded 342 crashes, 736 injuries and 103 deaths as against last year’s 1st quarter performance of 452 crashes, 792 injuries and 136 deaths.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong saids the region will improve its gains and change the narrative.
“It’s a very worrying situation, the situation has been normalised, people just get up and erect billboards and signs boards at intersections. People have the feeling that their sign boards should be at junctions. But there are standards which improve safety at junctions. Most of the billboards block visibility at junctions, making it difficult for drivers to see incoming drivers”.
He added, “Some of these have rendered our traffic lights ineffective, it creates huge problems, it’s against the law. Because accidents don’t occur, we think that it’s normal, but one accident from such occurrences can create serious problems”.