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News editors urged to intensify road safety awareness campaigns to save lives

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File photo of An accident scene

News editors have been urged to wage a crusade against the recent spate of carnage on roads in the country by devoting airtime and space to help raise public awareness of road safety to reduce the rate of road traffic deaths and injuries. 

The Director of Planning and Programmes at the National Road Safety Authority, Mr David Osafo Adonteng, made this known on Thursday, 9 December 2021 at a workshop organised by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) with support from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), for News Editors in Accra on how to increase public awareness on road safety issues to reduce deaths and injuries.

According to him, to complement efforts aimed at tackling road carnage in the country, news editors must play a major role by setting the agenda and highlighting road safety as a public health crisis.

This, he said, could be achieved through road safety focused talk shows, discussions programs, news feature stories among others. 

Mr Adonteng maintained that if stringent measures were not taken to protect lives lost to road crashes, the majority of the youthful working class between the ages of 19 to 36 years would lose their lives.

He advised journalists to take up the fight and use their only weapon, the power of the pen, to fight this menace.

Dr Raphael Awuah, the African Regional Advisor on Data and Surveillance for Vital Strategies, said according to the Global Burden of Road Traffic Crashes in lower-middle-income countries for 2019 and 2020 road traffic injuries were the tenth leading cause of deaths noting that the years 2013 and 2016 recorded approximately 27 deaths per 100,000 population in Africa.

He pointed out that causalities from road traffic crashes made up most of the cases reported at trauma centres in the country and expressed concerns over the underreporting of road crash fatalities and injuries in Africa.

He attributed the underreporting of road crash fatalities and injuries to insufficient follow-up of traffic casualties up to 30 days, unreported crashes to the police, as well as the Police not attending to reported crashes due to inadequate human resources adding the “World Health Organization (WHO) estimates of road crashes, were four times higher than officially reported road deaths in Africa.”  

Mr Kwabena Asare Mintah of the Regulatory, Inspectorate & Compliance Directorate of National Road Safety Authority, in a presentation, indicated that used tyres in Ghana increase the risk of road crashes by 30 per cent, adding that “15.2 per cent of vehicles involved in fatal crashes had some form of defect prior to the crash.” 

He noted that the most predominant tyre problem in Ghana has to do with wearing and tearing, which lead to punctures, blow-outs and flattening. 

Speaking to the media, Ms Mavis Obeng-Mensah, Communication Officer for the BIGRS Project in Ghana, explained that this was the first of many more workshops to be organized by the AMA, NRSA and BIGRS for News Editors on road safety.

She was hopeful that the workshops would help increase road safety advocacy in the media and urged all news editors to prioritize road safety programs and feature stories in the newsroom.

Credit:classfmonline.com

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