The Minister for Transport, Mr. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has hinted that Cabinet has granted approval to the proposal for the country’s National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), to be transformed into National Road Safety Authority.
Presenting a statement at the Plenary in Parliament on the policies and programmes being instituted by the Ministry to address the problem of accidents in the country, Mr. Ofori Asiamah pointed out that if the Commission is transformed into an Authority, it will have a new mandate to regulate, enforce institutional standards for road safety related activities, and issue appropriate sanctions for non-compliance.
Speaking on the floor, Mr. Ofori Asiamah explained that the transformation would be in addition to the Commission’s current functions of promoting road safety through education, recommendations, advice, collaborations, coordination and liaison.
He reiterated that the Commission would be able to exact obedience and sanction breaches of road safety standards under the Commission’s new mandate.
Road users and positive change
On the issue of attitude of road users, Mr. Ofori Asiamah informed the House that the NRSC and its stakeholders are also embarking on a number of activities to promote a positive change in the attitude of road users.
Touching on the activities of the Commission, the Transport Minister stated that a reward system for drivers and road transport actors would be introduced to encourage safe road practices.
Speaking further, Mr. Ofori Asiamah pointed out that there would be enforcement of speed limits and use of seatbelt regulations to reduce the incidence of severity in the event of a road traffic crash.
He added that there would be encouragement of Road Safety Goodwill Ambassadors and Advocates to compliment efforts of the Commission and stakeholders in advocacy and sensitisation.
Mr. Ofori revealed that the Commission and its stakeholders, before, during and after the Christmas holidays, will intensify road safety education and sensitisation at the lorry parks, within the communities, schools, churches, mosques and on the highways.
“The Commission will intensify media activities through the airing of road safety adverts and discussions. Some Corporate Institutions, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media are collaborating with the Commission to undertake various road safety activities and programmes to enhance safety on the roads”, he said.
The traffic regulations and violations
The Transport Minister in his presentation, stated that it is an offence for pedestrians to ignore a traffic light signal.
He again indicated that it is also an offence if one fails to use a footbridge or an underpass where it is provided.
“The Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate (MTTD) in collaboration with NRSC will soon install Speed Cameras to check over-speeding and traffic infractions on the roads. These unmanned Traffic Enforcement Devices will automatically detect, record transmit and store traffic violations”, he reiterated.
He finally stated at the Plenary that the Commission will again enforce the Road Traffic Regulations on re-training and fresher programmes for commercial vehicle drivers.
Meanwhile, section 125(3) of the Road Traffic Regulation, 2012, L.I. 2180 states that “Pedestrians who fail to use footbridges or an underpass where one is provided commit an offence”.