Ghana lost 288 million dollars through medical expenses on road accidents victims and on damaged vehicles in 2008.
The loss, which included insurance and about 43 per cent of the nation’s productivity, represented 1.6 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in that year.
Mr. David Adom, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), made these disclosures at the inauguration of a refurbished head office of the Authority in Accra yesterday.
He lamented that from January to March, this year, the Authority recorded 567 deaths through road accidents and added that 2,125 deaths and 16,133 injuries were the outcome of the 12,981 accidents recorded last year.
“Against the backdrop of the foregoing statistics, it is pertinent to ask if the Authority is achieving its mandate of promoting good driving standards and ensuring the use of roadworthy vehicles since road safety is the multiplicity of government institutions and agencies including the DVLA as well as the various road users”, he said.
He expressed concern about the public perception about the Authority’s inefficiency and wrongdoing by compromising driving standards and allowing vehicles which were not roadworthy to ply the roads.
To address the challenges, Mr. Adom said the Authority would require massive reforms including re-organisation, re-aligning, decentralization, preparation of manuals to guide operations, automation of procedures and processes as well as fast tracking of public private partnerships.
“To take the reforms further, the DVLA is putting in place a strategic plan spanning the period 2011 to 2015 to replace the existing plan so as to contribute substantially towards improvement in road safety and environmental sustainability”.
Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Transport, cautioned that shareholders and stakeholders would hold the Authority accountable and answerable to its vision and mission. He therefore challenged the Board, management and staff to initiate measures to strengthen driver licensing procedure and introduce post-licensing measures to keep surveillance on drivers and tracking of vehicles.
“The Authority must not under-estimate its role in contributing to fatality reduction rate by shedding off bad public perception and live above reproach to contribute meaningfully and substantially to national development”, he stressed.
Mr. Justice Amegashie, Chief Executive Officer of DVLA, hinted that the Authority would soon introduce Computing Adaptive Testing in order to eliminate human interface in the administration of theory test, mobile testing equipment to test the braking, lighting and emission systems of vehicles and approbation licensing system to impose restrictions on new drivers.
He conceded that the presence of ‘goro’ boys and faking of documents continued to pose a challenge and assured of meeting the Authority’s commitment towards road traffic casualty reduction.
Nii Kpobi Tetteh Tsuru III, La Mantse, urged the government to effectively and efficiently resource agencies in the transport sector to enable them to perform their functions effectively and efficiently through coordinated efforts so as to reduce carnage on the road.