According to the NRSC, the code is intended to reduce the spate of accidents, which studies have shown always increase in election years due to increased travels, with associated risks and the disrespect for road traffic laws and regulations.
Announcing the code at a national dialogue with political parties on road safety yesterday, the Director of Planning and Programmes at the NRSC, Ing. David Osafo Adonteng, said other factors accounting for high fatalities in election years were the mass movement of people, high speed, driving under the influence of alcohol and convoy movements.
The rest were the failure to wear seat belts and crash helmets, the overloading in inappropriate vehicles, limited police presence and the interference in police arrests and prosecutions by politicians.
Ing. Adonteng cited several other instances of the unruly behaviour of motorists during elections which resulted in the loss of lives and urged, “the opportunity is here. Let us all reform and save our lives.”
Explaining the rationale for organising the dialogue, the Executive Director of the NRSC, Mrs May Obiri Yeboah, said after it was instituted in 2008 the commission decided to institutionalise it to bridge the gap between political parties and road safety.
“It gives the opportunity for political parties to share their programmes on safety on the roads while the NRSC also puts forward its road safety programme,” she said.
The road safety code, which provides some of the global best road safety practices, is divided into eight parts that deal with what a driver must do before and during a journey as well as ensuring the vehicle to be used is road worthy and insured.
It also speaks to the conditioning of the driver before and during a journey, the role of party supporters and pedestrians, what must be done when driving in a convoy, the dos and don’ts of night driving, the transportation of party supporters and the appointment of road safety champions by each political party.
Response of parties
Taking their turns to make short statements at the dialogue, the political parties that were represented pledged to abide by the code and also educate their membership to adhere to road safety regulations in the run-up to and during the elections.
The Deputy National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Joshua Akamba, called for solutions to road crashes that party members would understand and comply with.
“If we allow the police to work, Ghana will be a better place. We should stop interfering in the work of the police and allow them to work,” he charged.The Deputy General Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Haruna Mohammed, stated that road safety was a shared responsibility but also blamed some road crashes on broken down vehicles.
Speaking for the Independent People’s Party (IPP), the General Secretary, Mr Kwame Owusu Akyempim, said if the party was given the mandate to rule, they would ensure the police had several gadgets to check speeding.
For his part, the Greater Accra Vice Chairman of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Mr Solomon Osei Fosu, lamented the poorly lit roads as another cause of road crashes and that a PPP government would ensure that there was data on every citizen so that the owners of broken down vehicles could be easily located to facilitate their removal from the road.
Representing the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), its leader, Mr T. M. Ward Brew, stated that road safety was dependent on good roads and vehicles and so a DPP government would invest in good road infrastructure.
The representative of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) said his party was committed to educating people on road safety and urged NRSC to team up with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Ghana Highways Authority, Railway Development Authority and other stakeholders to work on areas that needed attention to ensure road safety for all.