Pre-Xmas Road Safety Concerns in Ghanaby Frederick Sowah

Pre-Xmas Road Safety Concerns in Ghana

by Frederick Sowah

Published on Thu, Nov 12 2009 by Frederick S.
Ghana--In Ghana, like many parts of the world, the latter months leading to Christmas are the most economically vibrant months of the year. Many individuals and companies import huge quantities of consumer goods for wholesale and retail.  Because the dollar is the main currency used to purchase goods from outside the country, its demand increases during the last quarter of the financial year.  This usually results in a depreciation of the local currency. The period’s spike in economic activity is however not only due to the increased inflow of goods into the country. As people try to rake in some extra cash for the holiday festivities, local commerce is also intensified. In their attempt to reach their destinations faster during the pre-Xmas period, many individuals disregard road regulations. With vehicular traffic becoming incessantly stagnant, the frequency of motorists cutting corners on the road increases with a concomitant increment in road accidents.
I always complain of the recklessness on Accra roads every day.  I can’t remember the last time I drove to work without cursing under my breath. I am not saying I am a perfect driver, but I definitely am the defensive type, who wouldn’t mind giving another driver the benefit of the doubt when we both arrive at a narrow pass that only one of us can fit into at a time. A few days ago I was reading a Ghanaian paper when I read about an accident that had claimed fourteen people.  One of the drivers involved in the accident confessed that he had purchased his license from the local authorities for 200 Ghana Cedis (the equivalent of 140 USD).
It is one thing for unscrupulous individuals to sell fake driver’s licenses to drivers that have not gone through the testing process, but I think it is a more egregious offense when licensing officials sell licenses to unqualified drivers. By short circuiting the prescribed testing system, these officials end up allowing people who have no knowledge of basic road safety regulations to get on the road. This invariably leads to accidents such as the one previously mentioned. The government and its responsible organs need to investigate such incidents and punish (with heavy fines and prison sentences) both licensing officials and drivers who take part in these sham procedures. Hopefully, this measure would serve as a deterrent to other people and help bring down the number of accidents throughout the entire year.


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