Mr Mike Hammah, Minister of Transport, on Tuesday urged the media to take up the fight against the unacceptable state of affairs on the roads to ensure that the travelling public enjoyed safe and secured road transport services.
He also appealed to the media to support public and private sector initiatives aimed at educating the public on road safety, especially before, during and after the Easter festivities.
The Minister made the appeal at the media launch of Ghana Auto Expo 2009, organized by the Business and Financial Times (BFT) on the theme "Making the Right Automotive Choices to ensure Safety on our Roads".
The expo scheduled for 14 - 16 May, 2009 at the Ghana Trade Fair site was designed to among others, sensitize vehicle users on the need to patronize automobiles with specifications that met the country's climatic condition and also to use genuine auto parts to ensure safety on the roads.
It was also to serve as a one stop shop for stakeholders in the automobile industry, including car and spare parts dealers, insurance companies, banks and oil trading companies to meet and interact with potential buyers.
Mr Hammah lauded the media, particularly the BFT for the immense contribution to the effort at sensitizing the public on the need for discipline on the roads and for the creation of more platforms for players in the transport industry to share ideas and devise strategies to help move the sector forward.
He noted that the expo could not have come at a better time as road accidents had become one of the leading causes of death in the country today, moving from the ninth position among 10 causes of deaths.
"Projections from the National Road Safety Commission show that road accident will take third place by 2020 if nothing substantive is done about the current situation," he said.
Mr Hammah blamed the increased spate of road accidents on human error, engineering defects, ignorance on road usage and road signs, lack of etiquette on the part of some road users and inadequate resources for the law enforcement officer to enable them enforce traffic regulations.
Mr Hammah called on the public to make informed choices in their patronage of vehicle spare parts and to ensure good maintenance culture to promote road safety.
He also appealed to the private sector to come out with innovative schemes to support government's efforts at improving road transport to ensure road safety.
Mrs Edith Dankwa, Executive Director of BFT said the expo would afford stakeholders in the automobile industry to showcase the latest products to both corporate and individual customers and also create a forum for potential buyers to better understand the vehicles they buy.
Mr Ernest Ansah, Founder of Datalink University, called on vehicle manufacturers to agree on the production of common spare parts to ensure that vehicle users were sure of the compatibility of the spare parts to go with the vehicles.
He urged the government to encourage the manufacture of lorry tyres in the country to prevent the importation of used tyres and also suggested that vehicles older than three years should be thoroughly examined before being issued with road worthiness and insurance certificates.