June 7, 2023 – The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), Ghana is saddened and concerned about the current road and water transport safety situation in the country. The recent incident on the Accra-Cape Coast road that resulted in the premature termination of 16 lives with numerous others injured, serves as a stark reminder of the urgent call to combat these needless, but often preventable road traffic crashes. Again, the recent boat disaster that occurred on the Black Volta in the Savannah Region which left one person dead, and about 50 others missing is heart breaking enough.
The Accra-Cape Coast road accident is not an isolated case but part of an increasing trend of accidents over the years. According to confirmed statistics from the National Road Safety Authority, the year 2021 recorded 16,182 road traffic crashes (an increase of 8.9% as against 2020), that claimed 2,970 lives (an increase of 14.7% as against 2020) and left 15,935 with various degrees of injuries (an increase of 2.7% as against 2020). Of course, the consequences of these crashes are devastating as they inflict immeasurable pain and suffering on individuals, families and our communities and hinder the progress and development of the nation at large.
The underlying causes of these road traffic accidents are varied and complex. Along the broad spectrum of the seemingly ineffective public transportation systems lies reckless driving, over-speeding, drunk driving, fatigue driving, poor road infrastructure, inadequate vehicle maintenance, and the lack of adherence to road traffic regulations. It is thus evident that a comprehensive approach, involving all stakeholders, is required to effectively address this pressing issue.
CILT Ghana calls again on the government to, as a matter of urgency, constitute a committee comprising the relevant security services, relevant state institutions and stakeholders to investigate thoroughly not just the actual incidents but the entire chain of events leading to the incidents and make it known to the public for the purpose of learning and to calm the general public’s current apprehension.
The government, in collaboration with key stakeholder agencies, civil society organizations, and the general public, must work together to tackle this crisis head-on. The CILT thus proposes, for immediate attention, the Strengthening of Law Enforcement, increased responsive Road Safety Education, improved Infrastructure Development including moves to dualize sections of the N1 and N6 Highways, sustainable Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance regimes, Data Collection and Analysis and continuous Collaboration and Partnerships.
Regarding the boat disasters, the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) should be well resourced to cover vulnerable areas on the water bodies to ensure safety compliance i.e. overloading of boats and canoes and use of life jackets in riverine areas should be made compulsory. The tree stamps menace of the Volta Lake is alarming, and the appropriate authorities should, as a matter of urgency, put plans in place to remove them.
As professionals in Supply Chain, Logistics and Transport, we owe it to the Ghanaian public to provide the needed support in this regard. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all persons who have been affected whether directly or indirectly in these tragedies. It is our prayer that they will be comforted in these difficult times.
We, as a nation, cannot afford to ignore the rising tide of such needless road and water traffic incidents. It is our collective responsibility to work towards creating safer road and water transport for all Ghanaians. Let us remember the lives lost in the recent Accra-Cape Coast Road accident and take decisive action to prevent further tragedies. Together, we can build a better future.
Engr. Mark A. Amoamah, FCILT
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Ghana