Johnny Blukoo-Allotey writes: My thoughts on road carnage

Johnny Blukoo-Allotey writes: My thoughts on road carnage

On Tuesday 14th January 2020, 35 people died in an accident at Dompoase a town on the Cape-Coast –Takoradi road. This tragic accident just reminded me of something I wrote in July last year in support of Citi TV’s War Against Indiscipline.

Below is the relevant portion.

I humbly plead that the President makes the war against dangerous and reckless driving, death and destruction a priority. Every speech he makes directed at a Ghanaian audience and every public engagement must have a War against bad driving component. This will also ensure that the police and other agencies charged to keep our streets safe stay on their toes.

We must end the indiscipline and carnage on our roads. At least twice every week for the past three (3) years without fail, my friend F. Kwamina Biney sends me death filled headlines such as the following: 14/5/2017-Nine killed in gory accident at Berekum; 27/5/2017-Five killed in crash at Kenyase; 1/6/2017-Thirteen die on Apedwa-Anyinasi road; 21/6/2017-Six killed in car accident at Wansama; 26/6/2017-Two kids, Nine others killed in Bole-Bamboi highway crash; 16/7/2017-Road accidents, 152 killed in Ashanti Region; and Twenty-two feared dead in ghastly Suhum accident. These are May and June 2017 Ghanaweb headlines. It’s much worse now.

At dawn of Friday 22nd March 2019, more than 70 people died in a bus crash on the Kintampo-Tamale road. That same day 8 people died near Mankessim in another bus crash.

These are horrifying statistics which make world headlines. In ‘civilised’ countries, they lead to painstaking investigations and measures are taken to prevent recurrences. But hey, after being horrified by images of charred and bloodied bodies strewn around the accident scene on Whatsapp, we have forgotten about the dead, the injured their families, children etc. We are just waiting for the next big one. This cannot continue. The countrywide statistics of our road traffic accidents are damning. 2340 people were killed in road accidents in 2018, while between January and June this year 1252 people have died in accidents. The figures for pedestrian knock downs for the same January- June 2019 period is equally staggering; 1503. It’s a bloodbath.

Injuries from road accidents are especially debilitating. Road accidents suddenly alter survivors’ lives painfully and often quite permanently. There are more injuries than deaths from road accidents and survivors, often breadwinners, never fully recover and suddenly become a burden to their families and paupers.

It’s painful for them and their families. When five people die in a bus accident, about ten others are injured, often seriously. When a market woman or trader is injured in an accident involving a truck ferrying her tomatoes, her chances of getting her life back to look after herself and her family are severely diminished.

Having no one to lean on, no savings, no social care, nor support from the state, she’s practically finished. After making a semblance of a recovery, she, a previously resourceful, independent woman, must now depend on family and the charity of friends and suddenly become a beggar to survive. This is the grim reality suffered by the majority of our ordinary folk involved in bus accidents most of which are caused by reckless speeding, impatience, drunk driving and plain stupidity.

Many of our highway accidents are caused by stupid driver errors. Drivers must be taught that driving is serious business, that cars are not toys and that drivers owe a duty of care to passengers, other road users, pedestrians and that being at the wheel invokes responsibility.

July 2019

Source: Johnny Blukoo-Allotey

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