The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), in partnership with the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety ( BIGRS), has organised a training workshop for journalists in Accra as part of efforts to increase their knowledge on techniques in road safety reporting.
The workshop which was held on Thursday also sought to maximize the media publications’ roles in road safety behaviour change communications to reduce road crashes and fatalities in the city.
The Initiative Coordinator for the AMA-BIGRS, Mr Osei Kufuor, in a presentation on the major causes of road crashes and essential preventive measures said speeding had been identified as a major cause of road crashes in the city.
He said approved speed limits range from 30 to 50 km/h (20 to 30 mph) in urban areas, 80 km/h (50 mph) on Regional and Inter-Regional highways (R and IR routes) and 90 km/h (55 mph) on National highways (N routes).
He disclosed that 84 per cent of road deaths in the city in 2018 occurred between the hours of 6 pm and 8 pm and were among vulnerable road users between the ages of 20 to 39 years.
" Crashing your car into an object at 50km/hr is equivalent to a free fall from a 3 storey building while crashing into an object at 65km/hr, 80 km/ hr and 100km/hr is equivalent to a free fall from a 5, 8 and 12 storey building respectively, " he said.
He mentioned that adhering to the posted speed limits helps save lives and prevent injuries, reduce the severity and likelihood of all crash types, improves safety for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, reduces fuel consumption as well as lower greenhouse gas emissions and urged motorist to drive within the posted speed limit.
Ing. Samuel Boamah Danquah, Road Design and Transportation Coordinator for the AMA/ BIGRS, explained the effects of road engineering on general road safety stressing that "higher vehicle speeds require longer stopping times."
"At 30 km/hr the probability of a collision and of fatal collisions are very small. Increase the speed, and the risk for both collisions and resultant deaths increases dramatically, " he said.
Dr Raphael Baffour Awuah, Surveillance Coordinator for the AMA-BIGRS, on his part touched on the importance of data in road safety reportage and emphasized that consideration should be given for disseminating relevant data in order to demonstrate the importance of the police role in data collection , help road agencies identify high-risk locations and develop appropriate solutions as well as assist the health sector in planning for adequate health services and appropriate interventions to prevent road traffic injuries.
Kojo Akoto Boateng, a co-morning show host on Citi 97.3 FM, an Accra based radio station in a presentation entreated the media to pay more attention to educating the public on road safety issues to help reduce the crashes and fatalities.
"The constructive use of mass media can assist in teaching society the true essence of road safety and cause behavioural change. We must work together. There is competition for audiences but we must see road safety reporting as a public good and must contribute and share information within our circles.