By Cecil Mensah
The National Roads Safety Commission (NRSC), has established an award scheme to raise awareness and recognize efforts of commercial drivers across the country with Hielderberg GHACEM, assisting with fifty thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢ 50,000) to assist in the organization of the award.
The award scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Transport and the Commission to encourage best road safety practices, particularly control systems among commercial transport operators.
So far, the following organizations have been adjudged winners of the coveted road safety award: in 2010 Intercity -STC won it, in 2011 Great Imperial Transport Company and again in 2012.
The award on theme: “Safe Transport Systems: the Role of Commercial Transport Operators and the Media” is expected to build the capacity of operators, as well as winners to improve the perspectives of trainees on the critical issues of road safety management and improvement of livelihood of drivers.
Speaking at the outdouring of the 2013 award scheme in Accra, Mrs. May Obri-Yeboah, the Executive Director of NRSC said, in Ghana intercity travels have been found to account for a disturbing proportion of the road traffic crashes and their resultant casualties.
She said, this is because commercial passenger transport sub-sector of transport sector is largely unregulated, allowing for weak institutional control systems that deny passengers quality assurance and service.
She explained that the awards was instituted in 2010 to compliment other countermeasures to help raise the profile of road safety, particularly the transport organization and unions and ultimately improve their overall operations in the area of safety.
She noted that apart from the transport operators, the media is another target group for recognition.
“Often the media takes interest in the after situations to report on road traffic related casualties, but not on the actions that prevent these crashes from occurring,” she maintained
She admitted that monitoring has shown over the last two years that media content on road safety appears to be improving towards preventive reporting.
She explained that safety operations reporting can help transport operators deliver a safe road transport system, as the award is institutional based for drivers and individual- based for journalists who distinguish themselves.
She noted that the promotion of safe use of public transport system has been identified as one of the critical pillars of the commission’s strategy III (2011-2020) to reduce road traffic casualties by fifty percent by year 2020.
She posited that the award seeks to encourage transport operators to mainstream institutional best practices that would help deliver this goal.
She related that the share of commercial passengers and haulage transport services account for thirty percent of the national road traffic crash situations in the country.
It is in view of this that the commission published some standards for commercial passenger transport operators, pursuant to a directive from the Ministry of Transport to help in the reduction of crashes.
The guidelines require among other things that, transport operators appoint a Road Safety Officer who will ensure compliance with the set standards at every operational branch.