Supporting the Process to get Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limit Amended to Save Lives and Reduce Road Accidents

Background and Rationale

Road accidents continue to be a national security issue in the country as more people continue to die from the canker than from terminal diseases. Between March 2020 when the first covid-19 case was reported in Ghana and March 2021, road accident deaths have overtaken total Covid-19 casualties.

This essentially means more people have died due to road carnage in the period than the number of lives cumulatively claimed by the novel coronavirus since the country recorded its first two cases back in March 2020. This chilling revelation forms part of data collated by the Motor Traffic & Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service. The economic impact of this trend has been massive as many families have lost breadwinners through road carnages.

Current statistics from the Motor Transport and Drivers Division (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service paint a rather unfortunate picture with 2,560 road accidents cases reported between January and February of 2021. This involved 1,581 commercial vehicles, 974 motorcycles, and 2,766 pedestrians have been knocked down.

Ghana has codified its BAC as 0.080 mg/ml. Road accidents fatalities as a result of the 0.080 mg/ ml have reduced significantly. A study by the BRRI indicates that most drivers involved in road accidents were still within the 0.080mg/ml limit. For some of the drivers, 0.060 mg/ml was still sufficient to result in an accident.

This finding has been validated by some countries whose BAC limit was 0.080mg/ml and had it trimmed down to 0.050 mg/ml. Ghana’s 0.080 mg/ml at the time it was passed conformed with the World Health Organization (WHO) limit. Whilst most countries that have reduced road accidents occasioned by drunk driving in Europe and North America have reduced their BAC from 0.080 mg/ml to a level that is safer for all classes of drivers. Ghana’s limit needs to be reviewed to align with international best practices as this will help reduce significantly road accidents occasioned by drunk driving.

As part of measures to improve road safety in the country, the Ministry of Transport and the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) in 2021 commenced the process to review the Road Traffic Regulations 2012, Regulation 2180. Among the items for review is that the reducing of the BAC limit from 0.08 mg/ml to 0.05 mg/ml. It is in this context, that CUTS International, Accra with support from the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRPS) is implementing an 18-month project entitled “Supporting the Processes to get Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limit Amended to Save Lives and Reduce Road Accidents.

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