Ghana recorded 2,126 fatalities from road crashes between January and September this year, the Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service has announced.
Another 11,659 people sustained varying degrees of injury in the 11,585 accidents within the same period.
This means that, on the average, every road crash from January to September this year claimed the lives of more than four persons.
The crashes, according to the Director of Operations at the MTTD, Dr Sasu Mensah, involved 20,225 vehicles.
Describing the situation as alarming, Dr Mensah observed that the figures depicted an increase in road accident-related deaths and injuries.
He made the revelation at the national consultative forum on road traffic crashes and review of the Road Traffic Act, 2004 (Act 683) and Regulations 2012, L.I. 2180, organised by the Ministry of Transport in Accra yesterday.
Review of traffic regulation
The meeting was intended to review sections of the regulations, discuss and address implementation challenges, as well as assess the relevance of some of the regulations and incorporate new and emerging systems in the management of the road transport industry.
Participants at the event, both online and in-person, included agencies such as the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the MTTD, transport unions, commercial and private drivers, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media.
Characterised by high interactivity and heated arguments, the forum brought up numerous suggestions and contributions, which were either accepted or shot down.
Affected portions of the regulations included Section 80, which talks about the fitting of retro-reflectors; Section 101, which touches on driving of vehicle; Section 127, dealing with the issuance of commercial vehicle licences, and Section 128, prohibiting the use of motorcycle or tricycle for commercial purpose.
Dr Mensah attributed the increase in traffic accidents to non-compliance with road traffic regulations.
"Issues regarding the enforcement of the content of the act and the regulations are becoming challenging to the MTTD. We are of the opinion that aspects of the content of the act and the regulations should be reviewed for new introductions, hence the timeliness and the appropriateness of the programme," he added.
In response to the situation, Dr Mensah said the MTTD was introducing automation of its traffic law enforcement operation.
The move was intended to minimise the number of persons, check corruption among officers of the MTTD, reduce interference from agencies, as well as the delay in prosecution of offenders, he said.
"It is also intended to maximise efficient use of resources, data for profiling of traffic law violators, revenue from traffic fines for the government and trust, credibility and increased confidence in the MTTD," he intimated.
Disturbed by the statistics, the Minister for Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, observed that the victims of the carnages fell within the working age of 18 and 60, which affected the productivity of the country.
"It means that we are losing our economic group — the people who are contributing to the development of this country are dying through unnecessary accidents on our roads.
"If one person dies through a road accident, which is preventable and we could not prevent, I think it is an indictment on all of us. It is not about the numbers; it is about the error that we are committing and killing our youth," he fumed.
Mr Asiamah admitted that in spite of the various interventions made by successive governments, there were still challenges that needed to be resolved.
He said some of the provisions in the regulations needed to be reviewed and enhanced, where necessary, in the face of some technical and legislative deficiencies and implementation challenges that had emerged.
"It has also become necessary now, more than before, to introduce provisions, in line with development trends, changing social norms and values, and ensure conformity with international conventions and ECOWAS protocols on road traffic," he said.
Mr Asiamah further identified the inappropriate regulation of road traffic as a major source of worry.
"Air and sea transport are being regulated; it is only road transport in this country which is not regulated," he said.
He, therefore, appealed to transport unions to, in their own interest, collaborate with the NRSA to make sure that the industry was regulated.
"It is a very important industry and we cannot leave it ajar for people to misbehave and do things the way they like," he added.