Shocking statistics regarding road deaths in Ghana have come to light, highlighting the terrible loss of life that occurs on a daily basis.
In the first half of 2013 alone 1,033 people have been killed in road traffic accidents and if that wasn’t enough; there have been 6,839 accidents on the country’s roads in just the first six months of this year.
Astonishingly that equates to an average of 1,139 road accidents each and every month, claiming the life of 172 people every four weeks.
As hard to believe as these figures may be, they actually highlight a reduction in road accidents and deaths on Ghana’s roads compared to the same period last year as 1,144 persons were killed in 7,172 accidents within the first six months of 2012 and In terms of serious injuries; 6,463 persons were injured in the first half of this year as compared to 6,965 last year.
Despite such a huge amount of deaths across the country as a whole, accidents are far from evenly spread throughout the nation. According to data released by the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service, Accra Region recorded the highest number of accidents with 2,481 accidents and 140 deaths – that’s almost a third. Whereas the Upper East Region recorded the lowest road accident cases with 71 accidents and 32 deaths in the first half of this year.
The extremely high figures come despite major efforts by Police and government officials to make roads safer for drivers and pedestrians and even the United Nations have set a target for Ghana’s roads over the next 17 years.
So why are there so many deaths on Ghana’s roads?
Much effort and investment has been put into Ghana’s roads in recent years and the surfaces and signage is noticeably better than it’s been for a long time. However, many road safety experts put the blame purely down to driver error and poor driving skills.
The Regional Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) Police Commander, Chief Superintendent G. D Hlordzi, said 137 of those who perished between January and June 2012 were males, and 35 females
According to Chief Superintendent Hlordzi, there were as many as 972 accidents involving 1,516 private and commercial vehicles, as well as 127 motorbike crashes recorded in the region between January and June 2012.
In terms of accidents involving non-motorists; 136 pedestrians were knocked down between January and June 2013 compared to 213 last year.
“Most of the accidents on the road were human errors which could have been avoided if drivers complied with the road traffic rules and regulations,” he explained.
Though he went on to highlight the progress Ghana had made in this area, saying: “Gradually, we are getting to the United Nations target of reducing road fatalities by 50 per cent by the year 2020.”
Written by Matthew Crist in association with law firm Canter, Levin and Berg, who specialise in road traffic accidents.