Many firefighters are traumatized by the many scenes of bloody accidents they encounter
This year is barely nine months old, but already 190 lives have been lost in traffic accidents in the Central region between January and July of this year.
This figure represents an increase of 45 lives lost compared to the same period last year. In 2020, 145 lives were lost over the period.
Sharing heartbreaking experiences as a rescue officer, Station Officer 1 Oko Ahe Mensah Sampson from the Central Regional Headquarters of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) said: “At an accident scene, the body of the person was divided into two halves. I had to look for the other half. At another point, the liver had come out of the chest, my colleague started to vomit.
“Sometimes it makes some of us sick what we see at accident scenes. Others have a lot of psychological trauma.
Current statistics provided by the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) indicate that 52 pedestrians were also struck and killed during the period.
Lives were lost in 601 traffic accidents involving 883 vehicles. The vehicles included 419 commercial vehicles, 288 private automobiles, as well as 176 motorcycles.
Victim of a motorcycle accident, Mr. Patrick Ayizah, a worker of the Ghana Red Cross (GRCS), saw his motorcycle hit by a vehicle traveling at high speed while distributing first aid kits to points GRCS along the Accra-Cape Coast Highway.
He suffered a broken leg and for over a year was unable to walk or go to work. The situation delayed her marriage plans and caused her a lot of psychological stress.
“It was not easy but we are coping. There is not much you can do with this situation and I have to depend on my brothers and sisters for support,” he told the Daily Graphic.
The number of road accidents this year is already 111 higher than the number of cases (490) reported over the same period in 2020.
There were 820 injured people, four fewer than in the same period last year.
The CRCC takes action
Following the wave of accidents, the Central Regional Coordination Council (CRCC) held a meeting of the Regional Security Council last Tuesday for stakeholders to discuss ways to reduce the road slaughter.
At the meeting attended by the heads of security agencies, representatives of the drivers’ unions, some representatives of the district assembly and the media, the central regional commander of GNFS, the deputy fire commissioner (ACFO) John Amarlai Amartey, said the staff were greatly affected by the many scenes of bloody accidents they encountered in the line of duty.
“Many tell me about their experiences that traumatize them for days.
“Some say they can’t eat. Others have trouble sleeping and some have resorted to alcohol,” he told the stakeholder meeting that sought to find solutions to the carnage growing on the roads.
NRSA Central Regional Director Ms. Linda Afotey Annan told the meeting that indiscipline on the road by road users was one of the main factors behind the crashes.
She said the road carnage had caused the nation 1.6% of its gross domestic product, saying it required serious efforts by all to reduce the carnage.
She said some of the top 20 accident sites included Kasoa, Potsin Junction, Nyayano crossroads, Bawjiase junction around the police station and Ankamu junction.
The Assin Fosu-Cecilia Maternity House Mosque and the railway area also in Assin Fosu were also cited.
Others include the Silo culvert, the junction between the Mprumem and Ayibefo culvert in Winneba, the police headquarters-SIC junction and the Ameen Sangari-UCC main gate in Cape Coast, as well as the ECOWAS city junction and the Gomoa Nyayanor Kakraba Shadow Inn area.
Ms Afotey-Annan said many drivers did not comply with road regulations, leading to accidents.
She noted that driver inattention, for example, reckless passing and speeding were some of the leading causes of accidents.
Another cause of road accidents, she noted, was improper road signage and markings and the engineering of some roads and, therefore, called for effective collaboration to reduce accident rates.
Center Regional Minister Justina Marigold Assan said the carnage on the region’s roads made the region, touted as a favorite tourist destination in the country, unattractive.
She also noted that the problem of congestion at places such as Mankessim, resulting in longer journey times and increasing traffic jams, was of concern.
Ms. Assan instructed all institutions and agencies involved to redouble their efforts to ensure strict enforcement of road regulations and reduce the number of road fatalities.
Operation Come Alive
Central Regional Police Commander Deputy Police Commissioner Kwadwo Antwi Tabi said police have set up an accident prevention squad and will launch “Operation Arrive Alive” to effectively verify misuse of the road and help reduce accidents.
The meeting called for a ban on the sale of alcohol in truck fleets and the re-engineering of some roads to reduce accidents.
Participants also expressed concern that most of the vehicles involved were vehicles from outside the region circulating in the region and called for scaling up education nationwide.
They further expressed great concern over the unregulated use of tricycles in the region, particularly in the metropolis of Cape Coast and called for regulations to regulate them.
Continuing his spooky stories, GNFS Station 1 Sampson officer who has held the post for nearly a decade and has carried out a rescue mission during major accidents in the central region, including the infamous Dompoase accident which killed 34 people, said of the crash victims, “Sometimes we meet them alive but before our eyes they leave, they die.”
GNFS DO111 regional public relations officer Abdul Wasiu Hudu described road traffic crashes as a national security issue that must receive serious and urgent attention.
“We all travel. We are all potential victims. No bodyguard can protect a road accident,” he said, adding that their effect should not be minimized.
“Sometimes we take people out of a wreck and there are no ambulances to transport them,” he said.