General News of Tuesday, 14 January 2020
The Ministry of Transport has commenced a review of the Road Traffic Regulations 2012, L.I. 2180 to make changes and amendments to the existing law.
Among other things, the review is looking at the possibility of legalising the use of motorcycles and tricycles for commercial activities.
Should that decision be taken, the ministry would have to amend section 128 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180), which bears against the commercialisation of motorcycles and tricycles.
It states that ‘the licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.’
In spite of this law, there has been an increase in the use of motorcycles for commercial purposes, popularly referred to as ‘Okada’ across the country, particularly in the Greater Accra Region, following failure by the police to enforce the law.
This has led to many calls to commercialise their activities by law in order to effectively regulate their operations.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Select Committee of Roads and Transport to discuss the 2020 budget estimates of the Roads and Transport Ministry, officials from the ministry indicated that it had undertaken regional consultations to solicit views on the use of motorcycles and tricycles for commercial purposes.
They noted that the ministry would conduct national consultations as well on the proposed amendments to the regulations.
Indiscipline on the roads
In its report, the committee noted with serious concern the indiscipline exhibited by motorbike and motorized tricycle riders on the roads throughout the country.
The committee was informed of petitions by the motor-cycles and tri-cycles associations to the ministry in furtherance to the quest for the commercialisation of their activities.
The committee noted that commercial operations by these groups were in violation of the Road Traffic Regulations and therefore advised that a decision be taken on whether to legalise it or not.
Digitisation of operations of DVLA
The committee observed that despite the digitisation of operations at the Driver Vehicle License Authority (DVLA), ‘goro boys’ were still operating in the incidence of malpractices in the acquisition of driver licenses at the DVLA.
Their activities according to the committee impeded the smooth running of securing genuine driving license.
The committee was however confident that with the digitisation and computerization of the DVLA systems across the country, the operations of the ‘goro boys’ would be restricted and eventually run out of steam, as digitization would upset the bureaucratic procedures that lay a fertile ground for their businesses to thrive.
Road safety and crashes
The committee was informed that per statistics available, there was a surge in road crashes in 2019, not mainly as a result of more than expected crashes but that the crashes involved bigger capacitated vehicles which resulted in more fatalities.
It, therefore, recommended intensified sensitization of drivers and road users, vigorous educational drive, enforcements of road standards, enforcement of the use of seat belts, speed limits, helmets wearing and installation of cameras at vital intersections.
The Ministry of Transport and its agencies were given a budget allocation of GH¢402.82 million for the 2020 financial year.
Out of this amount, GH¢43.20 million would be used for compensation, GH¢59.34 million would be used for goods and services, and GH¢300.27 million would go into capital expenditure.