No more mobiles on Ghana’s roads
By Nana Appiah-Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
Ghana is enforcing a new law that bans the use of cellphones while driving - even with a hands-free kit.
The new road safety law amendments, which come into effect today, ban drivers from texting, accessing the internet or speaking on cellphones while driving.
The use of television monitors on dashboards of vehicles is also banned. Those caught contravening the new laws will be arrested and fined.
The law is intended to reduce the high rate of road accidents in Ghana. In 2011, the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Service recorded about 2,330 fatalities and 13,572 road crashes nationwide.
While some motorists think the move is unnecessary and uncalled for and even infringes on the rights of drivers, many share the opinion with authorities that it’s a directive meant to curb the spate of accidents on our roads.
According to the Director of National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), Mary Obiri Yeboah, the law will be applied to all motorists, both private and commercial, to ensure total safety on the roads.
She said the use of mobile phone handsets while driving has been the cause of many accidents in the country. “Drivers are distracted when conversing or texting on their phones. They have being cautioned and persuaded to desist from talking on their mobile phone set or through their earpiece, but that even has yielded no result hence the implementation of this law,” she added.
But Yeboah was quick to point out that motorists with vehicles that have an inbuilt mobile phone receiver device will be free to use it.
Eddie Quaye, a mechanical engineer and host of a popular Auto Show on Vibe Fm a local radio station in Accra known as the “Car Doctor” disclosed to BiztechAfrica that there are flaws with the new law. He notes that the law allows law enforcement authorities to use mobile phones wile driving on duty, which he says will distract them as much as it would any other motorist.
He said it does not serve as a good example for motorist who will be seeing MTTU policemen using mobile gadgets at the same time directing or controlling traffic.
However the Command of the Motor Transport and Traffic Unite (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Service Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Awuni Angwubutoge, told journalists in Accra after the announcement of the law that his department is committed to the enforcement of the law to the letter and that it will begin an intensive public education program across country to sensitize motorists to be aware of this new Road and Traffic Act now passed as Law in the country.
The law states that failure to comply will attract a fine not exceeding fifty penalty units or to a term of at most three months' imprisonment, or both.