Give National Road Safety Commission Teeth To Bite - Executive Director

The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has appealed to the executive and the legislature to fast-track and pass into law a bill that will change its current awareness creation status to a regulator.

The commission believes that the change of status will empower the commission to play a major role, given that it would have the ‘teeth to bite’ partner agencies and compel them to do the right thing.

Speaking to The Finder, Executive Director of the NRSC, Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah said there are limitations in the Legislative Instrument that established them, hence the need for the change.

She stated that the commission lacked the powers to sanction stakeholders for dereliction of duty.

Currently, “if stakeholders refuse to take our recommendations, nothing happens”, she said.

For instance, she added that if the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service receive a recommendation from the National Road Safety Commission to enforce traffic regulations and they don’t do it, the NRSC has no power to act and sanction them.

She explained that a legal backing would empower the regulator to demand compliance from stakeholders, such as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police, and in default, apply sanctions.

She was optimistic that when transformed into a regulator and given the needed resources, the increasing spate of road accidents would be brought under control.

Mrs Obiri-Yeboah explained that when granted a regulator status, it would deploy safety inspectors to help with compliance.

With a regulator status, she said, inspectors who identify rickety vehicles with road worthy certificates would inform the regulator to find out from DVLA how such vehicles obtained the certificates.

Findings of safety audits hardly addressed

She stated that NRSC conducts safety audits on the roads and make recommendations to the road agencies for redress, but such recommendations were hardly addressed.

She said the commission was worried about the situation, but under its current mandate, it cannot do much to change it.

“For example, the commission is not happy about the unsafe situation on the George Walker Bush Highway, Pokuase, Amasaman and the Tetteh Quarshie-Madina-Adenta road, where pedestrians are always seen competing with speeding vehicular traffic and resulting in knockdowns and deaths.

“The commission conducted an inspection of the interchange at Suhum Junction a couple of weeks ago, and our observation is that there is a looming danger for pedestrians at both approaches to the interchange if facilities to separate vehicular and pedestrian traffic are not put in place now before commissioning of the road.

“These observations have been communicated to the Ghana Highway Authority to consider,” she said.