Data released by the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) has revealed that 2,589 people lost their lives in road accidents between February 2022 and February 2023, which is more than the number of lives lost to the coronavirus in Ghana.
The age and gender distribution of the data shows that 196 males under 18 years died representing 8% of deaths. 130 females under 18 died accounting for 5%. 342 females over 18 years died representing 13% and 1921 males over 18 years died representing 74% of road accidents recorded between February 2022 and February 2023.
The total number of road accidents deaths surpasses the number of persons who succumbed to the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic three years ago when the country recorded its first case in March, 2020. The World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows that as of February 21, 2023, Ghana has recorded 1,462 Covid-19 deaths.
According to statistics from the NRSA, there were 6,450 accidents involving commercial vehicles representing 27% of vehicles involved in road accidents. There were 9,017 accidents involving private vehicles representing 30% and 171 motorcycles involved in accidents representing 43% of motor crashes. This amounted to a total of 21,151 vehicles involved in road accidents in a year.
NRSA is Ghana’s current lead organization whose goal is to ensure road safety in the country. It is funded through the national budget, and it has a road safety strategy that is partially funded. Coordination, legislation, monitoring, and assessment of road safety initiatives are among the agency’s duties. The country has set a goal for both fatal and non-fatal traffic accidents to be reduced by 50% between 2011 and 2020.
However, road traffic accidents remain a significant public health and development challenge in Ghana. According to statistics from National Road Safety Authority, road accidents are among the top 10 causes of death, draining 1.6% of its gross domestic product annually.
Speaking at a Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Forum on Road Safety in Accra in October 2022, West African Regional Director of CUTS International, Appiah Kusi Adomako suggested that the problem of road safety should be treated as a public health hazard because this so would allow Parliament to approve more funding for road safety interventions.
Director of Operations of the Ghana Police Service’s Motor Traffic and Transport Directorate, Chief Superintendent Dr. Samuel Sasu-Mensah, also noted that the main contributors to road accidents in the nation were drunk driving and speeding. The recent surge in road deaths and injuries has ignited demands for a sharper policy focused on road carnage.
In the meantime, The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) has implemented strategies to reduce traffic accidents through the Remain Alive Campaign to encourage drivers to follow traffic regulations.
The Authority also added a short code 194 as an additional toll-free number to aid law enforcement and related agencies in minimizing accidents and other safety-related issues in the country.
By Deborah Dzifa Makafui