The Government, through the Ministry of Transport, said it would give commercial vehicle operators a deadline to secure emergency exit doors on their vehicles to ensure the safe exit of passengers during emergencies.
Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, explained that the recent accident on the Kintampo-Techiman road recorded many fatalities due to the fire outbreak because of the absence of emergency exit doors for passengers to use.
The Ministry, he said, was, therefore, collaborating with the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service to strictly enforce the directive until every bus had acquired the doors.
“Within the next few weeks, vehicles that do not have emergency exit doors would cease to operate on the roads,” he said.
Mr Asiamah said this during a stakeholder meeting in Accra, organised by the Ministry, in partnership with the National Road Safety Commission and the MTTD, for the various commercial vehicle operators’ associations to deliberate on measures to control the rampant road accidents.
The Ministry donated 10 Alcohol Detecting Metres, 10 Speed Detecting Guns and 2000 Reflective Jackets to the MTTD to enhance their traffic control duties to reduce road accidents.
Mr Asiamah said statistics had shown that 80 per cent of road accidents were caused by indiscipline on the part of road users, such as drivers and pedestrians, adding that research had shown that the more good roads were constructed, the more accidents were caused.
Statistics had also shown that 98 out of every 100 road accidents experienced were caused by men, some out of drink-driving, killing the nation’s human resource between ages 15 and 35, constituting about 70 per cent of the total fatalities.
“Commercial vehicle drivers know every food joint, so they calculate the time they could reach a particular food joint on their journey, consume akpeteshie or other alcoholic beverages perceived to be appetizer and step on the accelerator just to get to their destinations early, only to end up killing innocent passengers, ” he said.
He noted that any commercial vehicle with a gross weight of 3.5 tonnes was expected to have a fixed speed limiter to reduce its speeding capacity, hence, the Ministry with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority were going to ensure that drivers acquire the device.
“Those who do not meet this requirement will be fined and if they still fail to comply, they would be banned from driving,” he said.
The Minister advised commercial vehicle operators to enroll their drivers in a six months training course to equip them with road usage directives.
Mr Asiamah said drivers who did not go through the course would have their licenses seized and their mother organisations penalised.
As a way of reducing over-speeding, Mr Asiamah disclosed that the speed guns, to be fixed on roads, would help the Police monitor the speed of drivers and those who over-sped would be charged and punished.
The Alcohol Metres, he said, would assist in detecting if a driver had taken in alcohol while driving.
The Minister advised drivers engaged in long distance journeys to park their vehicles and rest for 30 minutes after every four hours of driving to prevent road accidents as a result of tiredness.
Mr Yaw Amponsah Marfo, the Director of the VIP Jeoun Transport Company Limited, commended the Government for the effort to curb the menace.
“A private entity once took us to court over the unavailability of emergency exit doors on our vehicles three years ago and afterwards we ensured that emergency doors were created on all our buses before they were transported into the country,” he said.
He said the VIP Transport had the red colour as their original registration colour and, therefore, advised other commercial vehicles to register in different colours as all red vehicles involved in accidents were perceived as theirs.