The Transport Ministry will in the next few days, begin processes to ban non-unionized commercial drivers in the country. According to Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the move forms part of ongoing efforts to reduce road carnages in the country and sanitise the industry.
Since January to date, road accidents have claimed almost 400 lives and left thousands of others with various forms of injuries. The latest incident being Monday’s Kintampo accident which claimed 30 lives, has left stakeholders racking their brains in a bid to finding a lasting solution to the deadly road accidents.
That ghastly accident occurred after a Sprinter and Yutong were involved in a head-on collision on the Kintampo-Tamale highway in the Brong Ahafo region.
Most of the deceased were burnt beyond recognition in the ensuing fire which engulfed the two vehicles. According to eye witness accounts, one of the two drivers was dozing and veered off into the oncoming lane, resulting in the impact.
The aftermath of that accident has raised concerns over the need for urgent intervention to salvage lives on roads in the country.
At a stakeholders engagement spearheaded by the Transport Ministry to discuss and deliberate on measures to curb road accidents on the country’s highways, participants lamented over the increasing number of accidents on the roads.
The meeting which took place on Wednesday was between the Transport Ministry, personnel from the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council, Triumphant King Consult, National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service, transport owners, media professionals among others.,
The Minister of Transport, Mr Ofori Asiamah, in a caution to commercial transport owners who do not belong to any of the various transport associations said they will begin to clamp down on such activities since the Raod Safety Act empowers the Authority to regulate all commercial vehicles in the country.
“Henceforth, any commercial vehicle that does not belong to any association, it is going to be very difficult for you to work. This is because when something happens to you, we will be able to trace your whereabouts so that we can hold the transport operators responsible. Per the new regulations, the National Road Safety Authority is supposed to regulate all commercial vehicles. The commercial operators will come directly under the National Road Safety Authority”, he noted.
Urging such drivers to change their ways and unions to join, the Minister was emphatic that moving forward, there will be space to accommodate such deviant conducts and blamed some of those drivers for the increasing road accidents due to their careless driving behaviour and over speeding.
The Transport Minister also noted that any commercial driver not belonging any of the unions will not be given the free hand to operate in the country and charged the National Road Safety Authority to compile a data of all commercial vehicles in the country.
The Minister’s caution received the endorsement of players in the Transport industry especially the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC).
“…from the Council level, we are also going to compile data of all our union members. This will enable us to know the drivers and vehicles they are using. It will also enable us to know the roads they are plying. So, if you don’t belong to any union or association, how can we track your activities? So, I agree with the measure that the Minister said he is going to introduce, General Secretary of the GRTCC, Emmanuel Ohene Yeboah said.