The deaths caused by road accidents in the Ashanti Region has increased by 25 per cent since the beginning of this year, according to data from the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC).
Two hundred and eighty-six people died from January to September, up from 229 over the same period in 2017.
Ashanti Region Manager of the Commission, Samuel Obeng Asiamah, says a multi-stakeholder approach is needed to address the situation because of the alarming numbers.
Records from the NRSC reveal that accidents increased from 1,679 in 2017 to 1,924 this year, a rise of 14.6 per cent.
Out of this number, almost 15 per cent involve from motorcycles and tricycles which authorities describe as worrying.
42 per cent are private cars, whiles 43 per cent are commercial per cent.
According to Mr Obeng Asiamah, the alarming part is that most of these tricycle crashes are increasing.
“Initially, last year we were recording about between 9 to 11 per cent of motorcycle crashes of the total accident cases,” said Mr Asiamah.
He said the Commission is not against the use of motorcycle but how it is used. He explains that often, the riders and their passengers ride without a helmet.
He said it was about time various stakeholder put their heads together to streamline activities of motorcycle users on our streets.
“Now the motorcycles are becoming a necessary evil. You will find market women at the bucket of these ‘aboboyaa’ or tricycles. You find people sitting on the motorcycle two or three, and none of them is wearing a helmet.
“It’s about we regulate the use of motorcycles, if we have been able to regulate the use of cars, we should be able to regulate it,” he added.
Although the statistics show that there is an increasing rate in motorcycle accidents, some motorbike riders say the casualties cannot be blamed on them alone.
“Whether car or motor, once you are on the road there is the possibility of accidents whether you are in a motorcycle or a car. You can be cautious going your way and someone will hit you from behind, is that the fault of the motor rider?” Salim, who is one of the drivers, explained.
Pedestrian knock-downs according to the data, have reached 580 since the beginning of the year, from 507 in 2017 which is a 14.4 per cent increase.
This situation has been attributed to the inadequate road markings, road signs and for some places faded markings on the road.
Authorities observe that a significant number of persons knocked down on the road are below 18 years.
“These are probably school kids who are trying to get across to school and other persons who do not know how to use the roads very well,” said Mr Asiamah.
Meanwhile, Mr Asiamah says contracts for new road constructions must make an allocation for faded road markings to prevent accidents.
The Department of Urban Roads earlier this year has awarded a lot of contracts to upgrade most of the roads in Ashanti Region because for close to six years most of the roads within Kumasi were in deplorable conditions.
Vehicles involved in accidents during the period are 2,970 in 2018, rising from 2,527 in 2017 which represents a 17.5 per cent increase. The data also revealed that persons injured from road traffic accidents in 2018 are 2,098 which also represent a 30 per cent increase from 1,607 in 2017.
“It is something that we should all pull our resources together. We ensure that we fix our roads then ensure that our vehicles are also in proper shape. We are approaching Christmas, normally, few months to Christmas is when we have more crashes but now that we have 286 in the first ten months of the year, We don’t want to wait till 24th before we intensify our education. As soon as possible, we should sit down with the police, DVLA to re-strategize,” he said.
The Commission advises that everyone must be road-safety conscious.
According to Mr Asiamah, a visit to the Emergency Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital revealed that out of every 10 cases, between 7 and 9 are motorcycle accident related.
He is appealing with motorcycle riders to exercise restraint, be cautious and not put other pedestrians at risk.
“Often, [a pedestrian] has to virtually beg the driver to stop for him or her to cross the road though it should have been the other way round. The pedestrian is more vulnerable and drivers must protect those on foot. Most often drivers fail to adhere to people trying to cross the road,” Mr Asiamah urged.
Until authorities find lasting solutions to these challenges, road accidents and casualty rates will continue to haunt the nation.