Initiatives undertaken to reverse the trend of increases in vehicular accidents and fatalities on the country's roads in election years have yielded results.
A review of primary figures collated between January and September of 2007 and 2008, shows that there have been a considerable reduction in road accidents.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) commanding the Central Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU), Mr Daniel Julius Avorga, made these known at a public lecture organised by the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the Ghana School of Law and the Ghana Road Fund Secretariat.
The theme of the lecture was “Transportation as a tool for Development in the sub-region: The impact of the road Fund Act, Act 536,” and it was chosen to give students the opportunity to become conversant with the Act that impacts on their everyday lives as commuters.
Comparing preliminary figures of the two years, Mr Avorga said reported cases of accidents for the first quarter of the 2007 and 2008 were 2930 and 2845 respectively, 2820 and 2612 respectively for the second quarter, while 3080 and 2517 cases respectively were reported in the third quarter.
That showed a 2.9 per cent decrease for the first quarter, 7.4 for the second and an 18.3 per cent reduction for the third quarter, making a total of about 9.4 per cent reduction in road accidents from 2007 to date.
On fatalities reported, there had been a reduction in the number by 1.6 per cent with the number of reported cases of injuries also reducing by 12 per cent and the vehicles involved in accidents also reducing by 5.2 per cent.
He attributed the improvement to pragmatic measures implemented by the Police, the National Road Safety Commission, the Department of Urban Roads (DUR), the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) and the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI).
While reinforcing the importance of roads to development, Mr Avorga pointed to the fact that the country had not as yet mastered the maintenance culture, hence the poorly maintained roads.
Over aged vehicles, defective used spare parts and tyres and inadequate institutional capacity to monitor and evaluate the transport business sector, were all challenges that needed strengthening, he added.
He, therefore, urged the students to help in the crafting of standardised laws to improve upon road transportation in the sub region, taking into consideration the diverse cultural backgrounds and geographical conditions in the region.
A Deputy Director of Finance and Administration of the Ghana Road Fund Secretariat, Mr Francis Arthur, in his presentation said the achievements of the road fund since its inception in 1997 included an increase in revenue generation from ¢409 billion in 2002 to ¢1.15 trillion or in 2007
In addition, the national road condition mix, that is, roads in good condition as against those in poor condition, had seen an improvement with 30 per cent in good condition, 21 per cent in fair and 49 per cent in poor condition in 2002.
Currently however, figures in 2007 showed that 46 per cent of roads were in good condition, 35 per cent in fair and 19 per cent in poor condition, with an expansion in the road network from 48,630 kilometres in 2002 to 52, 672 kilometres in 2007.
He listed financing gaps in the maintenance of roads of about 60 per cent, the unsustainability of the Road Fund in the long run if alternatives were found to petroleum products, the improper use of roads and the low levels of road toll rates, as challenges.
Mr Arthur, therefore, suggested that a national dialogue on how to reduce dependency on fuel levies and include alternative sources of levies into the fund.
He also proposed that vehicles fitted with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) should be made to pay a levy under an appropriate legal framework, while road levies needed to be increased from 5 GP to an appreciable level.
Mr Joseph Whittal, the Director of the Legal Department of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), who chaired the lecture, commended the students for the lecture and the topic chosen as a nation that was not conversant with its laws, and did not subject it to the necessary reviews would could not make the right progress.
DAILY GRAPHIC, THURSDAY OCTOBER 23, 2008, PG 47