General News of Sunday, 19 January 2020
Source: Stephen Odoi, Contributor
The Minister of Transport, Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has passionately appealed to the Clergy and the leadership of the Muslim Community to actively participate in the fight against road accident, believing that their involvement will help reduce the menace which has become a headache for successive government.
According to the Minister, the rate at which accidents are killing people in the country is so alarming that the active participation of the Clergy and the leadership of the Muslim community will help turn things around.
“Let me appeal to the Clergy and the leadership of the Muslim Community – please get involve in the fight against road accidents. See road accidents as a health issue and a national concern and actively participate in the educational drive using your various platforms and I believe by so doing, the alarming rate at which we are recording accidents on our roads will reduce drastically”, he noted.
Hon. Asiamah made this call, Friday, when he interacted with journalists moments after his tour to last Tuesday’s gory accident scene at Dompoase, a village along the Cape-Coast-Takoradi Highway, as well victims of the said accident at the Cape-Coast Teaching Hospital.
He was accompanied by the Minister of Roads and Highways, Hon. Kwesi Amoako Atta, the Central Regional Minister, Hon. Kwamena Duncan, and the leadership of the Ghana Road Safety Authority.
The accident recorded 34 deaths with 56 sustaining various degrees of injuries.
The Central Regional Police Commander, COP Paul Manley Awini, who led the tour exercise in a brief to the dignitaries said the accident was caused by a vehicle that was travelling from Accra to Takoradi which had wanted to overtake an articulated truck.
“There was an articulated truck ahead of him from our preliminary investigations and then he tries to overstake the articulated from Cape-Coast to Takoradi. Just as he was overtaking the articulated truck, then another passenger bus conveying about 50 passengers, a DAF diesel bus from Takoradi to Accra emerged from that curve, both vehicles were on top speed. As soon as the red Hyundai Bus from Accra sighted that bus emerging from the Takoradi directive, he sensed danger and immediately decided to swerve towards the shoulder of the road. But if you look directly towards the road, there is an embankment there and he tries to swerve there. He tries to swerve there and at the same time the bus driver from Accra also sensed danger and I believe both sensed danger at the same time and tried to avoid a head-on collision and therefore both swerved towards the shoulder of the road but unfortunately because of that embankment over there, none of them could go that far. But the Hyundai bus from Accra towards Takoradi moved faster and I think the head went up on the embankment a bit and the DAF bus from Takoradi hit the middle portion of the Hyundai bus”, he narrated how the accident occurred.
Hon. Ofori Asiamah commenting further said from the brief from Police Commander, it was clear that the accident could have been avoided if the driver who tried to overtake the articulated truck had exercised some patience.
He therefore turned to the media and also appealed to it to constantly engage the public on road safety issues to compliment the efforts of the Ghana Road Safety Authority.
“I am appealing to the media that from today, let us use our various platforms to educate the public, especially, the drivers. The government is doing all that it could within the limited resources that we have as a country to help but how long can we continue this fight when the human being at the center of the whole thing which is the driver is not prepared to change and be patient on the road? When one person contracts HIV/AIDS, he is the only person who will die but in the case of a driver who gets reckless on the road and get involved in an accident, he is likely to kill all passengers on board the vehicle. Look at what has happened – just one person’s recklessness, a wife is now going to become a widow and vice versa, the family will lose someone important in the village. If the driver of the vehicle travelling from Accra to Takoradi had slowed down a bit, the accident wouldn’t have happened”, he noted.
The Minister of Roads and Transport, Hon. Kwesi Amoako Atta on his part cautioned drivers to take advantage of the extensive and intensive road safety education being provided by the Ghana Road Safety Authority under the leadership of Ing. Mrs. May Obiri Yeboah, and learn to be patient and observe all roads when travelling from one place to another.
“No matter the excellent work that my ministry will do in terms of providing road infrastructure in the country, no matter the excellent work that will be done by the Road Safety Authority under the Ministry of Transport, no matter the excellent work that the Police under the MTTD will be doing, if at the end of the day, the drivers don’t change their attitude but continue to drink and drive; continue to overtake at areas that do not permit overtaking and continues to disregard road signs, unfortunately, this country will continue to have these problems. Police may be at various parts of the road but immediately after passing through the Police check, the safety of you the driver and the passengers are in your hands”, he said.
The three Ministers conveyed to the leadership of the Cape-Coast Teaching Hospital, a promise by the government to fund the health expenses of the victims.