The third Edition of the Transport, Haulage and Road Safety Conference and Exhibition (THROSA CONFEX) has opened in Accra to engage stakeholders in the sector to promote road safety.
The two-day conference and exhibition seek to create a platform to remind stakeholders and policy makers of the need for comprehensive safety regulations, and enforceable by-laws for Ghanaians.
It is on the theme: "Promoting a Centralized Database System – To Mitigate Road Crashes and Ensure Productivity and National Safety."
The Reverend Sam Korankye-Ankrah, Group Chairman for THROSA CONFEX, said the platform brought together strategic leadership with expert knowledge to address topical matters, including Education and Information, Enforcement and Regulation, Emergency Medical Service, Engineering and Environment, and Evaluation, Monitoring and Research.
He said there was the need to adopt strategies to arrest the numerous road crashes, casualties and fatalities on roads.
The Group Chair said there was also the need to encourage occupational health and safety practices on the Job to build capacity for productivity.
He said the transport sector had a lot of opportunities for public-private partnerships and that the sector was critical at propelling other parts of the economy towards production.
"Over 95 per cent of transportation, logistics and haulage activities depend on the road networks, hence, the unfortunate high casualty and fatality rates. The THROSA CONFEX seeks to highlight these challenges to be addressed while creating national harmony," he added.
He explained that the conference would grow to become a leading platform to galvanize stakeholder to determine specific strategies for effective road safety compliance, maritime security, railway re-engineering, aviation safety and sustainability while promoting diversification in the transport sector.
Rev Korankye-Ankrah urged District Chief Executives to buy into the agenda to mitigate the risk of road crashes, adding that their position gave them a decentralized capacity of government and brought them close to the action point.
"Remember, accidents occur within each jurisdiction under your control. To achieve a national average, your district must enforce the policies and laws on road safety and other safety compliance regulations in the Transport Networks," he added.
Mr Samuel Oppong, Chief Executive Officer of Vehicle Inspection and Technical Organization, who chaired said the alarming rates of road carnages in our country was worrying and the first quarter of the year had already recorded about 2,126 crashes.
He said that the growing population of vehicles on our roads demanded the establishment of a National Data Centre to help monitor traffic.
"The scientific approach will have the capacity to gather data, monitor revenue collection and bring discipline on our roads through the use of cameras and other forms of technology to help identify drivers who flouted traffic regulations," he said.
Mrs Marian Edufu, a fellow of the Institute of Engineering Technology, said drivers should carefully plan and analyse transportation journeys to manage the risk associated with driving.
She said considerations for drivers' schedules, distance covered, possible hold-ups and potential road hazards should form part of the transportation planning process.
Mrs Edufu said drivers should determine if any areas of the transportation route were hazardous and key factors to consider included steep hills, sharp turns, poor road conditions, narrow bridges, road works; schools, among others.
Mr Subhi Accad, Group Chief Executive Officer of Auto Parts Limited, noted that there was a total lack of respect for driving laws and regulations on roads, citing examples that trucks, mini trucks popularly known as "Abossey Okai Machos" and Tricycles plied the left lane of the N1 and the Accra Motorway, even though both were highways.
He said some drivers recklessly made double triple and even quadruple over takings, which had led to countless road accidents and loss of lives.
"Motorcyclists are spotted riding without helmets, crossing the red lights and in some cases, displaying acrobatic stunts, which have led to many deaths in recent times," he added.
Mr Accad said these acts of lawlessness could be addressed by meting out punishments to "Trotro" drivers and Motorcyclists who broke traffic regulations, adding that government should put measures in place to control the easy flow of used vehicles into the country.