11 July 2017

29 dead, 82 injured in road crashes – Starr Fm

No fewer than 29 people have perished and as many as 82 persons got injured in 99 road crashes involving 165 vehicles in the Upper East region between January and June this year, Starr News has learnt.

A breakdown of some statistics sourced by Starr News from the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) shows the region recorded 15 deaths with 54 persons mutilated in 58 auto crashes involving 97 vehicles in the first quarter of the year. The second quarter- between April and June- ended with 68 vehicles involved in 41 crashes that claimed 14 lives and maimed 28 people.

Although there is a decline in the disturbing figures as shown in the last quarter, the commission says the trend calls for worry as the victims generally have been the “economically active residents in the prime of their lives”. Road safety experts say “excessive speeding” and “reckless attitude” resulted in most of the road traffic tragedies in a region hit every year by an average 65 deaths on the road.

“Bolgatanga always has the [highest figure] every quarter in terms of casualty because it is the most urbanised place in the region. The Bolgatanga we knew five years back is not the same Bolgatanga today. So, if you are maintaining the same road culture we used five years back now, you are only going to experience crashes- because now there are more cars and even more motorbikes. Now, if the traffic goes red, before one minute, you would see a long queue of vehicles.

The Upper East Regional Planning Officer of the NRSC, Dennis Yeribu, says "excessive speeding" and "reckless attitude" have remained the main causes of crashes in the region
The Upper East Regional Planning Officer of the NRSC, Dennis Yeribu, says “excessive speeding” and “reckless attitude” have remained the main causes of crashes in the region

“Five years back, it wasn’t like that. So, if you are maintaining the same attitude- you’re jumping traffic light, you are [speeding], it would end up in crashes, and that’s what we are getting now. Excessive speeding and reckless attitude (disregard for road traffic provisions and other road users) are the underpinning factors which are causing the crashes in the region,” the Upper East Regional Planning Officer of the NRSC, Dennis Yeribu, told Starr News.

Helmet takes 5 years to expire – NRC reveals

In the absence of a driving school in the region, the NRSC has taken it upon itself to offer a free training course on traffic safety to individuals who own vehicles in the region.

And with about 700 people who “humbly” availed themselves of the training opportunity and have been taken through the exercise so far, the NRSC believes the training contributed to the drop the region attained with 29 deaths recorded in the last 6 months as compared to the 32 lives lost in 83 crashes within the same period in 2016.

“Almost every week, people are trained. And that is aside the arrangement the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) had with the National Road Safety Commission. So far, we have trained close to 700 people since we started the exercise last year. The government has given a very good policy. You don’t need to go and write tests. Just come for training and the commission and the DVLA would be satisfied that you know what you are about- then, you’ll go for your licence,” Mr. Yeribu said.

He also revealed some secrets about the crash helmet which a majority of the public probably did not know.

“Sometimes, people don’t know that when you come for the training for instance we present to you about 22 other factors aside death which result when you don’t wear your crash helmet. We have testimonies of people and we show it to them. Alzheimer’s disease and all these things are part. Sometimes you hit your head and you can get paralysis of the facial muscles. And you can’t do anything about it. Sometimes, it would end up in stroke.

“The condition of many of the mentally people we see around is not as a result of hard drugs or spiritual curses. Some are as a result of road crashes. They hit their heads hard on asphalt and they are not normal again. We have practical testimonies in the region. We tell them how to identify good helmets. Some people do not know that helmets expire after 5 years of non-use, because the internal structures, the adhesives and things which are holding the helmet together, are not really working well after 5 years,” the Regional Planner disclosed.

Do pre-departure checks before you move your vehicles – NRSC

The commission warned the public to always do what it calls “pre-departure checks” on their cars or motorcycles before setting off and to make use of the improved warning triangles when their vehicles break down on the road to avoid vehicular collision.

165 vehicles have been involved in road crashes in the region within the last 6 months
165 vehicles have been involved in road crashes in the region within the last 6 months

“Before you move with your vehicle, do you ever anticipate that you can blast your tyre? So, if you are moving and you just hear the blast, what are you going to do? The first reaction people would have is to step on their brakes. And most certainly you would get a summersault. So, pre-departure checks on yourself, on your mindset, are very necessary before you move your vehicle. We should empower the passengers, telling them that the journey is a contract between you and the driver to get you there safely and to assist the driver to get you there safely.

“So, we tell the driver, you have every right to report the passenger who is forcing you to go beyond your limits, causing you problems in the vehicle. And we also empower the passengers that they shouldn’t leave their destinies in the hands of one person who might be misbehaving. If you find out your driver is drunk, make sure the driver stops the vehicle or get a police checkpoint for the driver to be detained till he becomes sober. We have instances whereby a drunk driver has killed more than 43 people at a go. This is the empowerment we are giving people,” Mr. Yeribu stressed.

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