Once again, two gory accidents last week shook the nation to its core and numbed Ghanaians. The accidents, one in the Central region and the other in the northern region, reportedly claimed the lives of nearly a hundred of our fellow citizens.
As is often the case when tragedies of this kind occur, politicians came out in their numbers to express sorrow, anger and sympathize with families of the deceased.
Ordinary Ghanaians while expressing their heartfelt sympathies for the victims, fumed with anger at the recklessness of those in whose hands they trust their lives for transportation from point A to point B.
By all accounts, the accidents are yet again further, irrefutable proof that our deplorable roads, inexperienced and careless drivers and the attendant feeble enforcement of traffic regulations by authorities, continue to pose a threat to the safety and well-being of the traveling public.
Yet, each time our country is hit squarely in the face with accidents of this magnitude, authorities immediately set up commissions of inquiry to probe and prescribe solutions.
But the steps and measures suggested by the commissions haven’t amounted to much; in reality they haven’t contributed in any meaningful way to the reduction of accidents on our highways.
Drivers continue to flagrantly disregard basic traffic regulations and ordinary Ghanaians continue to get slaughtered in preventable accidents.
And making matters worse, those charged with ensuring that our roads are safe look the other way oblivious of the financial and emotional toll road accidents take on families who lose love ones.
In trying and agonizing times like this, it is the norm to express heartfelt sympathies, point fingers and deplore the reckless attitude of our drivers for the carnage on Ghana roads.
However, one group that has escaped accountability is transport owners. If we are to consider road accidents in their totality, transport owners are just as guilty as the untrained, ethically challenged and vastly inexperienced drivers they employ to drive their buses and lorries.
One indisputable fact about transport owners in Ghana is that like businessmen and women around the world, they are more concerned with the bottom line --- that is making huge profits at the expense of Ghanaians than doing the right thing.
To this extent they cut corners by employing highly unqualified drivers and putting unworthy vehicles on our roads.
Ultimately, it is ordinary Ghanaians who end up paying the heavy price for their blatant disregard for our traffic laws and the safety of the traveling public.
I bet if our country were an advanced democracy with all the check and balances, transport owners will be sued out of business by the families of victims of road accidents caused by their drivers.
Let it be said loud and clear again for the thousandth time that our roads are dangerous thanks in large measure to reckless and unprincipled drivers, our law enforcement authorities who fail to enforce regulations that will guarantee the safety of passengers and of course, to the whims and caprices of unscrupulous transport owners.
Against this sordid background and in view of last week’s heart-wrenching road wrecks, it is time authorities do something drastic to stem the seemingly endless carnage on our roads.
One very important step authorities can take is to shift attention from the usual suspects, drivers and MTU officials and train it on transport owners.
If they are compelled by law to regularly repair their vehicles and hire reliable and highly qualified and experienced drivers, there would no doubt be a significant reduction in the number of devastating road mishaps.