Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Transport, has expressed concern about road traffic crashes which claim at least six lives daily and 1,800 a year living with a number of injuries and incapacitation.
“The estimated cost of crashes to the economy is 1.6 per cent of the National Gross Domestic Product, valued at about $419 million as at 2009 whilst it is established that, 60 per cent of the victims of road traffic crashes are between 15 and 55 years,” he said.
Alhaji Dauda said within a period of 10 years, Ghana had recorded a total of 125,857 road traffic crashes, 20,503 deaths, and 63,384 serious injuries.
The Minister of Transport made this known at a workshop organised by Nestle Ghana in collaboration with Zurich and Activa International Company, to create an open, honest, “sales free” forum where participants could share good practices, processes and outcomes.
It also laid the foundation for developing a long term sustainable programmes for work-related road safety policy and practice; served as a platform for exchanging ideas on the effective work related road risk management process and steps for implementation within African nations.
Alhaji Dauda said despite the seemingly bad situation, the intensive road safety programmes being undertaken by the National Road Safety Commission and other stakeholders has led to decrease in the fatalities.
The Transport Minister said the National Road Safety Strategies and Action Plans have significantly improved on the road safety situation.
He said the forum would serve as an opportunity for transport organisations with fleet risk exposures in the area to discuss and implement effective fleet safety programmes for the future.
“We should all endeavour to help deliver on the vision to make Ghana’s road transportation system the safest in Africa,” he said, adding that road safety issue is a shared and collective responsibility and we all are at risk.
From January to September 2011; 1,713 fatalities were recorded, representing nearly 4.51 per cent increases whilst injuries increased by 4.68 per cent.
There was two per cent drop in fatalities in Tema, one per cent in Central Region and 25 per cent in Ashanti Region.
Significant reductions in fatalities were recorded in road user classes such as car occupants, seven per cent; pick-up occupants, 16 per cent; bicyclists, 12 per cent and other road users, 27 per cent.
There was a five per cent increase in pedestrian fatalities, six per cent in heavy vehicles, 31 per cent in bus/mini bus occupants and 49 per cent in motorcyclists.
The Managing Director of Nestle Ghana, Moataz El Hout said Nestle considered safe driving a priority, hence, the role of the company as one of the initiators and main organisers of the conference along with its partners in Zurich and Activa.
He said the conference is expected to offer an opportunity for participants to deliberate on safe driving measures and policies that could be practically adopted.
Mr Tawia Addo-Ashong, Programme Coordinator, Global Road Safety Facility, World Bank said the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2001 to 2012 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety whilst 02 countries co-sponsored the UN Resolution.
The main goal of the Decade is to raise awareness of the impact of road crashes on global public health and to promote interventions in order to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in road deaths by 2020.