BEATING TRAFFIC CONGESTION TO DEATH
On a typical day
within Accra either by driving your own vehicle or by public transport,one will have the obnoxious experience of having to give-way in traffic to an emergency responsevehicle, a bullion van, a security or government official vehicles. The sound and movement of thesevehicles can really cause one to panic or dangerously veer of the road to give way to them. If one isnot fortunate he or she may be harangued by the drivers of these vehicles or receive a few bruiseson his or her vehicle.The situation in recent times due to the incidence of a bank bullion van crashing into a publictransport bus on 16th March, 2012, has caused a cadence in the public opprobrium on the spate of flouting of speeding limits, traffic signals and other traffic laws by emergency vehicles eithergovernmental or private. As it has become a regular feature on our roads, emergency vehicles, be it,hospital ambulance, firefighting tankers, police vehicles, government officials and many moreignore normal traffic rules, driving at excessive speeds, using opposing traffic streams, jumpingintersection red lights, using road shoulders and many more to reach their destinations. The issueis more troubling when private vehicles also do it by following some of the recognized emergencyvehicles in the form of a convoy. Others to, just ignore the traffic rules when it is most convenient for them to reach their destination without the aid of any recognized emergency vehicle. Thesethings are often done at the blind side of the police. Some private vehicles anyway, in the name of government protocol and national assignments, do it regularly in the presence of patrolling policemen.It is obvious the reasons leading to the great concern by the citizenry of the country are attributableto the vehicle collisions, damage to properties, killing of pedestrians, fear and panic among otherroad users, lawlessness on our roads and many more others caused by their characteristicmovement.
For instance, in a GNA report dated 2010, a storey captured “
Cocoa purchasing clerk killed in double tragedy
tells the story of a cocoa clerk who being transferred in an ambulancefrom the Bibiani Government Hospital to Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital with injuries sustaineddue to an accident in Bibiani, was again involved in another accident as a result of the ambulance
driver’s inability to avoid a parked truck due to the ambulance unusual high speed.
Questions askedby many people are; does the law clearly spell out that vehicles are allowed to ignore normal trafficrules at particular times? If so, what categories of vehicles are allowed to do this and under what conditions are they permitted to do so? Furthermore, to what extent are they allowed to ignore thenormal traffic rules and the accepted conventions of driving and road use? What has reallyaccounted for the recent increase in vehicles ignoring traffic rules, be it, emergency or otherwise?These and many more questions remain unanswered in the minds of the Ghanaian.For what is known in the engineering design of roads, roads are designed with safety beingparamount. Before the alignment of the road is decided, the maximum allowable speed on the roadwhich secures an acceptable amount of safety without causing an inconvenience to motorists must be determined. As such the maximum speed limits used in residential areas are 30kmph, forhighways 80kmph and for highway sections passing through towns and villages 50kmph.