GJA, NRSA urge speedy amendment to Road Safety Act

Business and Financial Times (B&FT), February 27, 2023
The Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) has advocated a speedy amendment to the Road Safety Act (2012) to ensure the implementation of a compulsory towing policy, so as to reduce accidents caused by faulty parked vehicles.

President of the GJA Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, speaking during a capacity-building workshop for journalists on road safety reporting in Accra, expressed his outfit’s readiness to play an advocacy role in getting the Act amended.

The amendment will make it possible for the compulsory towing of broken-down vehicles to take effect, enabling the gradual eradication of abandoned vehicles on roads which have been statistically proven to be a major cause of road accidents.

“If there is a need for us to call on parliament – the parliamentary committee responsible for this Act or even the Speaker – we will do that,” he said.

The workshop was organised by CUTS International, Bloomberg Initiatives for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) and the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA). It sought to build the capacity of journalists to champion advocacy on road safety through their reportage.

“I have already spoken with the NRSA that the GJA may pay a courtesy-call on the Authority in the coming weeks, so we can sit down and draw-up a work plan or roadmap for ensuring this amendment is done,” he said.

For his part, General Director of the NRSA, David Osafo Adonteng, affirmed the Authority’s preparedness to collaborate with GJA and the entire media fraternity toward adopting solutions to tackle disabled vehicles on the road.

“We are beginning to wear uniforms to operate like an enforcement agency, and we have powers to demand safety from our stakeholders so that we will see a massive change in road safety.”

Reducing BAC levels from 0.08 – 0.05.
Statistics from the World Health Organization have accentuated the need to pay critical attention to the vast implications of drink-driving on roads; and it is against this backdrop that CUTS International, BIRGS and NRSA are drumming home the essence of reviewing the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level from 0.08 to 0.05.

Head of Research at CUTS International, Isaac Yaw Obeng, explained that BAC is a measure of alcohol in the blood and is most commonly used to assess the degree of alcohol intoxication.

According to him, statistics state that 27 percent of all traffic injuries are due to drunk-driving – a situation he described as very serious.

Mr. Obeng added that when drivers become intoxicated with alcohol, it has the propensity to diminish their capacity to control situations behind the steering wheel; consequently, leading to over speeding and accidents.

Additionally, he said, a wide range of research indicates that more alcohol content in the body results in higher chances of one causing an accident because of impairment, hence the call for a reduction in the BAC level. Again he mentioned that in Ghana, research findings in 2007 indicated that alcohol intake is much higher among private than commercial drivers, especially during the weekends.

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