MTTD fears more road accident deaths as elections beckon

The Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) has expressed fears that with the 2020 election approaching there could be a repeat of increased road fatalities.

Data for June from MTTD showed 232 fatalities, a 36% increase from the 171 deaths recorded in May, which was also higher than the 143 in April.

COVID-19 restrictions and a lockdown in last March reduced traffic, leading to a decrease in road carnage and fatalities. But the easing of the measures has seen a reversal of the gains.

The total monthly road carnage was up by 12%, total vehicles involved in the crashes increased by 8% and persons injured surged by 8%.

Road fatalities from January 2020 to June 2020. Source: The Ghana Report, with data from MTTD.
Road fatalities from January 2020 to June 2020. Source: The Ghana Report, with data from MTTD.

“We are in an election calendar year, and our history is pronounced with increases in road crashes during election years, and therefore we should be informed in the mid-calendar year that it has started spiking,” the Head of Education, Research, and Training at the MTTD, Superintendent Alex Obeng, told theghanareport.com.

Superintendent Obeng further warned, “If we don’t keep to the early warning signs we are giving, then, of course, expect that as it happened in previous years, there is a great possibility that it would happen this year.”

Historical data from the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) showed a significant increase in fatalities in election years except 2008.

Road fatalities in the last four elections
Road fatalities in the last four elections. Source: The Ghana Report, with data from NRSA.

Half-year data showed about 1,041 people have died and 6,822 others suffering from various degrees of injuries associated with road accidents.

Mr Obeng was emphatic that, “if we don’t refrain from some of the behaviours …there is a high possibility that we may get to over 2,000 deaths by December 31 and about 13,000 injuries.”

Election years are characterised by processions, demonstrations, rallies and varied meetings by political parties, pressure groups, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), state agencies, electoral management body and stakeholders across the country.

With the new voter exercise, applicants are also likely to travel from one location to another to register at centres of convenience.

The MTTD is expecting the major stakeholders to act on the signals during electioneering processes and to take appropriate measures to forestall repetitions of the past.

With political parties heavily involved in the election process, the MTTD has appealed to all presidential and parliamentary aspirants to dedicate at least a minute to appeal to road users to be compliant with road safety measures whenever they mount platforms or engage Ghanaians via various means.

The MTTD is urging all fleet owners, vehicle managers, transporters and logisticians of political parties to be compliant with road safety regulations.

Mr Obeng further advised political heads to conduct background checks to ensure that “licenced drivers with experience” are placed in charge of transportation.

He is advocating in-house training by political parties on road safety and expert advice on best practices to prevent risking the lives of road users when the campaign season intensifies.

“Nobody should hide behind any power to, as it were, take the law into his or her hands under the colouration of a political party to go and endanger his life and the lives of others behind the steering wheel,” he cautioned.

He noted that political seasons were rife with politicians trying to visit many places within a short time to canvass for votes. This increases the likelihood of speeding and reckless driving.

He proposed a maximum driving speed of 100km per hour on the motorway, 90km per hour on highways and in towns as low as 30km per hour in compliance with road traffic code.


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