Religious Leaders Urged To Promote Road Safety

The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) engaged the leadership of religious bodies in a dialogue to promote road safety in the country. Mr David Osafo Adonteng, Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of NRSC, appealed to religious leaders to educate their members on road safety and regularly create the awareness as demonstrated by the Vatican in issuing instructions to church members on safe driving which was reported by BBC on June 19, 2007. He noted that religious leaders were the light of the world and were very well positioned to take the lead by teaching through their sermons good manners on the road and setting good examples for their members. He said funeral services and mourning for road accident victims should be minimized and instead used to highlight the need for road safety saying “religious groups should help clear the minds of members from superstitious beliefs and help them to rely on good judgment while on the road,” he said. Mr Adonteng said statistics had shown that about 11,500 accidents were reported annually, about 14,500 for injuries and 1,900 fatalities recording annually, hence the need for religious leaders to support the road safety campaign. Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, Director of Planning and Programmes of NRSC, said currently road safety campaign is led by a small sector of engineers, car makers and traffic police hence the need to expand to involve everyone in the country. “The challenges of road traffic crashes require that we fine-tune our activities and engage opinion and religious leaders in the drive against such occurrences hampering national and regional progress,” she said. Mrs Obiri-Yeboah advised that vehicles with Gross Vehicle Weight of 3.5tonnes and above either belonging to the congregation or hired should be fitted on the sides and rear with approved retro-reflectors to improve the vehicle conspicuity at night. She appealed to religious leaders to appoint some of their members to champion the cause of road safety by ensuring that issues relating to the vehicles, transportation of congregants to functions, drivers and congregants were complied. Right Reverend Albert Ofoe Wright, Bishop of the Methodist Church, Somanya Dioceses, said accidents on the roads were caused by bad attitudinal behavior on the part of drivers, limited technical capacity to enforce standards of vehicles and poor road structures. He commended the NRSC in engaging the religious leaders in such a dialogue to promote road safety since religious leaders have an important role to play in educating their members on road safety and assured of his support to the success of the campaign.