The App, being rolled out by the Ghana Driver and Road Safety Foundation in collaboration with the National Road Safety Authority, and MTTD of the Ghana Police Service, and other road safety stakeholders is intended to assist in the global fight of halving the current number of 1.35 million people killed in road crashes annually.
The initiative is also expected to help make roads in Ghana safer and contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Target 3.6, which is to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2030.
Mr Charles Abani, United Nations Resident Coordinator, who launched the app, informed that it was developed by the Ghana Driver and Road Safety Foundation, saying he found the Drifan initiative as very inspiring, especially “because it is the work of young people and spearheaded by a woman.”
“I am happy that the youth of Ghana are not just consuming technology produced elsewhere but are building locally relevant solutions such as what we are launching today.”
He mentioned that 1.4 million people were killed every year globally, and another 50 million injured around the world.
“This is an epidemic of sorts, the leading killer of young people between the ages of 5 and 29, the 8th leading cause of death globally. One additional worrying fact is that about half of the people killed and injured in road accidents are pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycles and other non-driving road users.”
He said the 2030 SDGs emphasised on cooperation and collaboration among civil society, business, government, NGOs, foundations, academia and others for its achievement, he therefore applauded the collaborators of the initiative for the efforts.
Mr Abani said the United Nations Strategy on Road Safety was based on a “safe-system” approach, which involved managing the complex interaction between speed, vehicles, road infrastructure and road-user behaviour to prevent crashes from resulting in serious human injury.
Among others, the strategy emphasises on safer roads and safe road users as key pillars to achieving the SDG targets on road safety.
“The United Nations recognises awareness-raising and training as key actions towards ensuring safe road users, which are safe drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motor-bikers.”
The Drifan platform, was therefore, commendable “because it makes valuable contributions to these two pillars of the United Nations Strategy.”
This and other hazards when left unaddressed could result in crashes and derail the country’s road safety efforts, he added.
Mr Abani added that Drifan was providing a platform for progress on achieving safe road users through the free, covid-safe, and contextually relevant education to drivers and other road users in Ghana.
Ms Freda Frimpong, Director of Partnerships and Project, Ghana Driver and Road Safety Foundation, said the Drifan app approach road safety from three key perspectives, which involved the provision of a platform for road users to send live road hazard reports; for continuous driver education in a COVID-safe manner as well as for the Ghana Driver Road Safety Awards.
She said through the app, relevant road safety authorities would get alerted to take preventive action, while community members would be alerted to stay safe; drivers would also get refresher training and education conveniently and continually.
Through the awards initiative, road safety champions would be raised among drivers, individuals, and organizations.
“Drifan is a work-in- progress. Additional functionalities to contribute to safer and sustainable transportation, will be added onto the platform over the next 24 months.”
Drifan’s communal approach to the problem of road hazards would empower citizens to get involved in road safety action, providing a focused platform for citizens to capture and share road hazard alerts.
It would be utilising English and Ghanaian languages and make road safety education accessible to all.
Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, Director General of the National Road Safety Authority, said road traffic casualties remained a public health problem at all levels and so much needed to be done if the rising trend in deaths was to be halted.
In a speech read for her by Mrs Catherine Hamilton, Greater Accra Regional Director in charge of Road Safety, she decried the 21 per cent increase of fatalities, saying there had been a rise of fatalities from 1,588 recorded between January to August 2020 to 1,927 within the same period in 2021.
“These difficulties call for the extra creativity and aggression on our parts to reverse this disturbing trend.”
She commended the Foundation for partnering her outfit over the past five years to fight the carnage, saying, the new app would help to cater for the needs of the road environment and promoting safety.