The carnage on the country’s roads is something which continues to engage the minds of most citizens and of course, government. Even more worrying is the fact that human error is responsible for most of the accidents.
With the Yuletide in the horizon, the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) could not have responded to the security of our highways better than they did when they last Tuesday solicited the support of the media.
There is no doubt that the media have a role to play in stemming accidents on our roads especially when it comes to education and raising the red flag if situations demand such actions.
A number of factors are responsible for most of the accidents in the country. While some are caused by motorists others are institutional, the latter especially, requiring the intervention of a relevant state agency such an empowered NRSC.
It is relieving that very soon, the NRSC will have its status upgraded to an authority. This way it can take the appropriate institutional action against the state agency which does not ensure that the road markings are constantly painted or traffic lights function effectively.
It is interesting and instructive education that the 1950s’ road traffic laws in the Gold Coast at a time when the number of vehicles were not many are still applicable today. At a time when the number of vehicles and even humans has increased overwhelmingly, it is of course, necessary to consider amending some of these laws so law enforcements will not suffer avoidable constraints as they enforce traffic regulations.
Although the NRSC quoting a UN road safety index said we are not doing badly as a nation in terms of road safety, many Ghanaians would demur. For them news about carnage without empirical backing, is enough to raise adrenalin level.
Be it as it may, we could do better with the safety index which is what the NRSC seeks to achieve since one life lost is unacceptable. Important festivities such as the Yuletide and others are periods when many accidents are recorded and so when the Commission unfolds a special campaign to obviate what has become a ritual at such times, they must be commended and supported.
We wish to ask that efforts be expedited towards acquiring hi-tec equipment to reduce the human interface in traffic management. It is almost antiquated having traffic cops enforcing laws in the streets when this could be done by modern gadgets using special lenses to detect infringements of traffic laws.
We need a flawless database such as the one being compiled by the National Identification Authority so that at the pressing of a button, the details of a vehicle and the motorists behind its wheels would be made available to the cop.
Those who jump red lights for instance or even park wrongly should attract ticket, information about which sanction would be delivered electronically to the defaulter. When this is done, we would be departing thankfully from the regime of human intervention which makes it near impossible to enforce the law.
Stakeholders who are all Ghanaians and others who use the country’s roads and highways must all cooperate with the NRSC to reduce the number of accidents to the barest minimum during the Xmas, New Year and even beyond. Let us stop the accidents now.