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25 February 2017

Menace of abandoned vehicles… Road users call for towing service

towing

These towing trucks lie idle while lives are lost on the highways

A section of the travelling public has expressed concern about the inability of the government to roll out a towing service that will remove all broken-down vehicles on the highways.

They said the lack of such a service  was giving room to some miscreants to abandon their vehicles on the roads, sometimes leading to fatal accidents.

Opanin Osei Kwaku, a driver, who expressed sadness about the needless deaths on the country’s roads, pleaded with the government to do something about it as soon as possible.

A trader, Ama Badu, who buys foodstuffs  from Afram Plains, said it was only by the grace of God that she had survived on the highways.

A farmer of Asesewa, Daniel Amanor, observed that the inaction on the part of the government to enforce traffic regulations had emboldened some motorists to drive with impunity and disregard road traffic regulations.

He said some drivers who were minded by safety on the road improvised leaves as warning signs after a vehicle had broken down and expressed regret that other road users did not care a hoot about the lives of others because they knew the police and other regulatory authorities had gone to sleep.

Meanwhile, the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) says it  will  by the end of the second quarter of this year  roll out a robust national towing service to clear all broken-down vehicles from the road, a measure that is targeted at reducing vehicular accidents.

A contract to that effect was signed with the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL), a private company, last year but the initiative is yet to take off due to some implementation challenges.

“Users of the service will have to pay a fee, so we are still engaging stakeholders on the payment mechanism before the final launch of the initiative is done by the second quarter of this year,” the Head of Communications at the NRSC, Mr Kwame Koduah Atuahene, told the Daily Graphic in an interview yesterday.

According to him, the law on towing of broken-down vehicles required the service provider to have a park for the towed cars, a requirement RSMSL was still working on.

Mr Atuahene added that the NRSC was also working on an effective alert system to enhance information dissemination on broken-down vehicles when the initiative starts.

The odds

The Daily Graphic carried a story in November last year, suggesting that about 118 trucks that had been acquired by the RSMSL for the national towing service had not been put to use because of the inability of the NRSC to give the go-ahead for the implementation of the project.

The story indicated that the equity shareholders of RSMSL were contemplating taking legal action against the NRSC if efforts to deal with the bottlenecks failed.

Meanwhile, many lives continue to be lost due to accidents resulting from abandoned vehicles on the shoulders of the road.

The latest victim of this unfortunate situation is a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Akwatia, Dr Kofi Asare, who reportedly drove his car into an abandoned articulated truck in the curve of the Abetifi-Agogo trunk road last Tuesday.

In the first quarter of 2016, provisional figures supplied by the NRSC showed that the number of deaths on the roads of Ghana was 508, an increase from 395 during the same period the previous year.

According to the NRSC, road accidents alone cost Ghana 1.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product  (GDP) annually, which translates into about 2,000 deaths on the average per year.

Also, almost 60 per cent of crash victims are within the productive bracket of 18 and 55 years, a situation which impacts the Ghanaian economy negatively.

Precaution

Mr Atuahene, expressing the NRSC’s displeasure about the loss of lives on the roads, admonished the public, especially drivers, to adhere strictly to road traffic regulations in order to promote road safety.

“We are not happy about the way precious lives are lost on our roads, so we will entreat road users to drive with care.

“If your vehicle breaks down on the road, you need to get an advance warning triangle and place it at an appreciable distance from the vehicle to protect other road users,” he stressed.

He assured the public that the NRSC would continue to collaborate with the police to enforce road traffic regulations until such a time that the towing service was fully implemented.

 

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