The lack of street lights on our roads has been attributed to rampant spate of road accidents across the the country.
This attribution by the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) is as a result of dysfunctional street lights on most of the country’s major roads, hence makes visibility for both drivers and road users especially at night difficult.
The Director of Planning and Programming at the NationalRoad Safety Authority(NRSA), Ing. David Osafo Adonteng made these assertion at a stakeholder’s discussion in Accra on the condition of street lights in the Greater Accra Region.
“We have detected some deficiencies leading to road crashes at night and we are here as stakeholders to see how best we can resolve it. One issue which is crucial is the fact that our street lights are not lit. There are street lights but they don’t function, that makes driving on the roads very difficult leading to accidents” he stressed.
Ing. Adonteng was addressing a stakeholder’s discussion in Accra on Friday on the condition of street lights in the Greater Accra region.
According to him, there is an urgent need to eliminate night road accidents in the country through effective stakeholder engagements and road safety campaigns.
Meanwhile, road users, Ing. Adonteng stressed need to be also cautious whilst driving in the night.
On his part, the Director of Communications at the National Road Safety Authority, Lawyer Kwame Atuahene explained that the Authority’s mandate has now changed from giving advice and making recommendations on the breaches to road safety standards and procedures that have consequences for road traffic casualties to exacting obedience to road safety standards and procedures.
According to him, the new regime ensures the promotion of best road safety practices among road users and coordinating road safety activities.
“The authority is empowered now to regulate, ensure implementation and enforcement of road safety standards and procedures”.
Adding, the authority shall perform the following new and enhanced functions such as collaborating with Ghana Education Service and other relevant bodies to develop road safety education as part of the curriculum forpre-tertiary level schools and colleges of education”.
Furthermore, Lawyer Atuahene acknowledged that, the law also empowers the Authority to impose administrative sanctions of between two thousand and twenty thousand penalty units for various breaches under the Act including disregard for notices, non compliance with road safety standards, non compliance with directives or instructFurthermore, ions arising from road safety audit among others.
According to him the Authority is required to receive complaints on issues of street lights and investigate road crashes to identify which institutional responsibility it is and profer sanctions.
He later expressed the Authority’s commitment to addressing the institutional irresponsibility and bridging the gap that is causing night road crashes.
During the open forum, there was blame game as all the stakeholders present denied responsibility of street lights management in the country.
Whilst the NRSA perceived that street lights are under the management of the Electricity Company of Ghana(ECG), the ECG denied responsibility of that assertion.
But it later emerged that the LI 1961 places the management of street lights in the country solely on the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies(MMDAs).
The MCE of Adenta Hon. Nii Noi Adumah who represented the Assemblies however recounted challenges of jurisdictional power struggle between the MMDAs and the Highways authority on issues of fixing street lights.
He said that jurisdictional power struggle is what is preventing the Assemblies from fixing the street lights.
Later there was an issue of what the ECG does with the 1% street levy levy it collects.
This prompted the Manager of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the ECG, Mr Tony Asiapre to explain that, the street lights money they collect does not sit with them but instead goes into the Energy Sector Levy Act(ESLA) which he said is managed by the ministry of finance.
He later revealed that ECG has formed a national Street Lighting Co-ordinating Committee and a District Street Lighting Co-ordinaring Commitee to address the street lighting problems in the country.
Source: www.thenewindependentonline.com/ Ishmael Barfi/ email@example.com