our roads but they all come here as second- hand tyres and we use them.
So, Mr. Speaker, you may see a tyre, which looks very new, you use it and between here and Kumasi you may lose about four (4) tyres. And if you happen to lose a front tyre when you are on a highway, anything can happen; but we allow all these tyres to come in without any examination.
Mr. Speaker, the use of what the
mechanics call “alteration”, some also say, “approtech”, -- Most of these cars are so old that the parts are not available. They take them to Kumasi Magazine or Kokompe in Accra and try to manufacture anything which they fix. We should look at some of all these things and perhaps give those mechanics the requisite training or give them education that it is good and proper to fix parts that are meant for the car and not try to put anything there which would work, perhaps, temporarily.
Mr. Speaker, we can also look at the
human factor - the police on the road. Recently on one of the FM stations the Ashanti Regional Police Commander was saying that they had arrested 108 people and they were sent to court and the total fine amounted to about ¢94 million. On the average each of them may have been fined less than a ¢1,000,000. It may be true that not everybody who was sent to court was found guilty so that, perhaps, a number of them may have been found guilty and they have paid between ¢1 million and about ¢10 million. But, Mr. Speaker, if you have to take records from our courts, some of the drivers are fined as low as ¢200,000 when they have been charged for careless driving, and pleaded guilty in accidents where people have died. So the drivers may think that, at least, they can do anything on the road and get away with it.
After all, some of them boast that if you take your car you do not take their licence. Mr. Speaker, how many of these drivers on our roads have their licences even endorsed by the police or the courts after they have been found guilty? They only pay their fines and walk away. There are no records on them. So the drivers who may have caused several accidents and who could have been banned are still on the road.
There is the need to keep records of these cases so that the drivers could be either kept off the road or suffer some punishment, like being suspended for six months, one year and so on, so that when they come back they would be more careful.
Mr. Speaker, when you look at the
action of the police -- I know they may not be comfortable with this but we have to say it. I have always been using my constituency as an example. When you go to the Kade Police Station, for example, in most cases you find only one or two people at the counter. You go there and they tell you they do not have the men. But go there on market days, they would mount several road checks with each of the checkpoints having about four to five policemen. If they can have these people on the road, why can they not be at the counter and check other crimes? This is because they come there and make money.
Mr. Speaker, I have been there myself -- I have said it and I am saying it again. You will see the policemen mounting the roadcheck, drive past them, stop a few metres away and do your own check of the cars that pass. They are loaded three in front and four at the back. That is overloading. What happened in Kumasi three or four days ago? The vehicle was meant for 23 people but it had 36 people on board.
Meanwhile, that bus had gone past police checkpoints. They see them and say, “Oh, they are attending a funeral. This
is a social function”. But at the end of the day overloading is overloading. And when cars are overloaded they lose their balance and for that matter the driver at each point in time finds it difficult to control the car in case of emergency.
So if the Police would be up and doing and perform the task that they are supposed to do when they are on the road, I think, to a very large extent, we can reduce the road accidents. It should not be the police alone, but even responsible citizens including the various unions, the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), the PROTOA, the Coperative and all the driver unions.
Mr. Speaker, there is a second example of where the sign of a meandering road was shown to a driver, and he was asked “When you see the meandering sign, what does it mean?” He said, “Oh, snakes - the place is infested with snakes”. [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, it looks like a joke but we must be serious. The interviewer just laughed it off and the driver drove away. Immediately, the union chairman or the executives there should have stopped the driver or even the passengers on board should have insisted that they take their tickets and join another vehicle. But we have all these people on the road.
Mr. Speaker, 207 buses may be involved in an accident but they may not be the causative factors at all times.There may be other factors, so we have to look at these. Perhaps, we could appeal to the newspapers to, at least, allocate a small portion at the corner of the front-page which they have been using for politics to, at least, give a piece of advice to the drivers each day even though most drivers do not read newspapers, I know. But they listen to the FM stations. Almost every bus, trotro or taxi has a radio in Ghana, so the media could also be doing programmes on road accidents and road safety in general. I think these are some of the things that would help us other than limiting it to 207 buses.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity.