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Ancient beliefs and tradition, the bane of reducing road crashes and fatalities

For a developing country like Ghana, allowing her citizens to perish from road crashes is not only tragic, but unfortunate and unacceptable.

The country might have been successful in flattening the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) curve, but it has much to do to stem the uncontrolled accidents and fatalities happening daily on her roads.

Ancient Beliefs

Earlier beliefs that road crashes were caused by evil spirits, cosmic forces, ghosts and demons continue to influence efforts in fighting road accidents and the attendant injuries and deaths.

Supernatural explanations of road crashes and other traffic fatalities have been around for centuries.

In the olden days, road crashes and fatalities were seemingly not high in the society and anytime such incidents occurred, our fore fathers went to shrines for consultations.

Deaths through road crashes were regarded as abomination and a curse on evil doers and plotters. Certain rituals had to be performed by the chief priest on the bodies of the departed souls before burial.

Scenario

The Abesim community, for instance, would have to convey mutilated bodies of accident victims to the village square and perform certain rituals on them before burial.
This is to pacify the local deity to avoid any future recurrence.

These beliefs and practices seemed to be outdated in cultures in parts of the world, but many Ghanaians still hold unto these traditions.

In those days road networks were not good, there were few vehicles and more importantly hardly would one find drinking bars and pubs sited at lorry parks or a driver on duty found drunk.

These and among other reasons were why road crashes were minimal in those days.

If road crashes could truly be traced to evil spirits, one wondered why the menace had become an annual ritual in the midst of the proliferation of churches and other religious bodies.

Interestingly, Christians and other religious groups gather and hold all night prayers, retreat and conventions, but the sad aspect of it is that road crashes are always high during Christmas seasons.

Statistics

Within the last 28 years, over 46,000 Ghanaians have been killed in road accidents nationwide, according to investigations conducted by the National Road Safety Authority.
The country, as at the end of August 2020, had recorded 9,205 road crashes, involving 15,459 vehicles and resulting in 1,585 deaths.

A total of 242 people have died through 591 road accidents recorded from January to September last year in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions, Mr. Kwasi Agyenim-Boateng, the Acting Regional Head of the NRSA told the Ghana News Agency (GNA)

The NRSA, he explained, was worried there had been a relative increase in the accident cases as compared to last year, and appealed to the media to use their networks to increase driver education on road safety to reverse the trend.

Contributory factors

In fact, inattention and over-speeding are currently the leading causes of road crashes, but experts in the road sector identified human error linked to drunk-driving, over-loading, over-speeding, wrongful over-taking and fatigue as some causes.

nature of the country’s highways is other contributory factors as well.

Way forward

For the nation to succeed, and reduce carnages and fatalities on the highways, it is imperative for Ghanaians to accept the reality, and support vigorous road safety education and campaigns.

Growing from Commission to Authority, the NRSA requires adequate funding and resources to undertake all-year-round safety education on the highways, bus terminals and public gatherings to make the citizenry appreciate and contribute to reducing road accidents.

This reporter however, believes apart from public education and campaigns, strict enforcement of road traffic laws and regulations would greatly minimize crashes and attendant fatalities on the highways.

Until the nation addresses driver indiscipline and negligence, efforts towards reducing annual road accidents and fatalities would remained a mirage, while spirituality and religion take glory for avoidable crashes on the highways

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Written by Gilly

I am a Ghana-based freelance Journalist fascinated in the Music Industry, Experienced Blogger with a demonstrated history of working in the music industry. Skilled in Music Publishing, Event Planning likewise Event Management. Strong media and communication professional with a Master of Arts (MA) focused on Management Information Systems.

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