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Buckle up: It saves lives

By: Daniel Oduro-Mensah
 Failure to wear seatbelt leads to loss of lives through accidents
Failure to wear seatbelt leads to loss of lives through accidents

When my father turned on the radio set for the 6 a.m. news on a local language speaking station, I was awake. I listened to the headlines. I admired the pronunciation of words by the newscasters. At the latter part of the news in detail, I was struck by a debate from the Parliament of Ghana.  

This was on Friday, July 7, 2017. We have frequently talked about drivers and to some extent passengers fastening their seat belts which have become ‘trivial’.  Private and public transport drivers are my focus in this article. I think the issue has to be discussed again. Regular punitive measures should be taken to ensure its adherence.

I heard Members of Parliament (MPs) for Bekwai, Klottey Korle and Kintampo South namely, Mr Joseph Osei Wusu, Dr Zanetor Rawlings and Felicia Adjei, respectively taking turns to discuss the matter.

I was excited to hear that. A segment of the discussions that struck me was the fact that the ‘simple’ failure to wear seatbelts led to loss of lives through many accidents. 

When the news ended, I had a mental picture of the nature of our public transport, popularly known as ‘trotro’ in our local parlance that plies our roads.

Rickety vehicles

Some of these rickety, decrepit buses are nothing to write home about. They have outlived their usefulness. Noises emanating from the engines are unbearable. The deafening sound accompanying their characteristic fumes plumed in the atmosphere has so much health implications. The sight of these buses with their malfunctioning tail lights, cracked windscreen, tattered seats and lack of basic repair tools shocks me and more surprising is the fact that they have roadworthy certificates.

I concurred with the MPs. But then, had another thought that all ‘trotro’ that had served mother Ghana so well should not be allowed to commute on our roads. Whether in private cars or commercial buses, there should be constant checks by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and other relevant authorities to check seat belts.

Those who do not wear seat belts should either pay a spot fine or face the full rigours of the law. It is, therefore, important to revisit the law requiring all commercial buses, including the notorious ‘trotros’ to have seatbelts.

I have observed that drivers, especially find smart ways to impress law enforcement officers. They quickly fasten their seat belts when they foresee police officers. After about a few minutes drive away from the officers, they take their seat belts off. Some even do not have one. Others also have the belt, but do not have the tongue to push it into the buckle.
The author is a student Journalist of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.