Bloodbath on Our Roads Means Nothing to Us Now
The fear that made us cringed at the sight of blood is being buried by history. The recurrence of blood spillage on our roads consequent of accident has gotten us accustomed to the sight of blood. Though life has come to accept that death is inevitable, death is preventable under certain circumstances. The astronomical toll of death from accidents recorded daily in this country can be reduced to approximately zero with just a slight change in our collective behaviour.
From 1,634 people in 2015 to 2,198 people in 2016 lost their lives to road accidents. Reports from Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana police service (MTTD) and National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) admit that out of 3,300 recorded knockdowns nationwide in 2017, 2,076 citizens lost their lives. Last week, New Zealand went haywire after she lost fifty of her children to a terrorist attack. This week, Ghana lost almost ninety of its citizens to two different road accidents on the same day and the country seems serene and indifferent. What could have accounted for this posture of ours? Is it because bloodbath on our roads does not mean anything to us anymore?
A while back, I met a lady who was once a trader, with a begging bowl in the hand. In addition to being disabled by road accident, she lost all her capital at the accident scene and had to even depend on the benevolence of generous citizens for medical treatment. As I am wondering how many teachers and entrepreneurs might have been devoured by our roads, many are also contemplating about the number of doctors and emergent leaders who have fallen prey to our predatory roads.
Let’s all solemnly think about the huge numbers of helpless babies, teenagers and preteens who have painfully lost their lives to road accidents. Should I lose my family to road accident before feeling the brutal pain of such loss? Should you lose your parents and friends to the carnage on our roads before sharing the great pain others are going through? I think we just have to be humans to share such pains. While we continue to pray for the gone souls and hope for the mercy of our highways, it pays to remind ourselves that blind optimism has never really fixed any circumstance. And that it is only optimism backed by action that is proven to be the universal solution to all challenges.
It is no revealing that diverse and multiple factors–which we are all familiar with–have been identified as the causes of the bloodbath on our roads. From poor driving skills to broken down vehicles on our roads, and from overloading of vehicles to fatigue driving to the laxity of the law enforcement agencies to enforce law and so on, many lives have been perished. And the hash truth is, while we keep playing the ostrich, many more precious lives will perish.
While I agree that the menace of road accident is a bread-and-butter issue, I disagree that all the deaths are owed to the politician, though he cannot be completely exonerated. This is not the time to push responsibilities to one another, if not I could chronicle how the actions of pedestrians, commercial and non-commercial drivers have caused road accidents. I could also recount how the actions and inactions of the State and its institutions like DVLA, Police Service and Highways Authority have contributed immensely to the menace at hand.
In my estimation and that of the technocrats, the high mortality rate resulting from road accidents will trend down if we construct enough dual carriageways across the country. The people who represent the height of genius and honesty (the politicians) should, therefore, spare money for that. Plus, if we stop drink driving, obey traffic rules, develop the right attitude toward driving, construct modern roads and enforce our laws, the occurrence of road accidents and its associated deaths will plummet to the barest minimum.
Since no one is immune from being a victim of the carnage on our roads, the fight against the menace, therefore, remains a shared responsibility.
By Rahim Newton