Stakeholders in road safety in West Africa have begun deliberations at the ninth Annual General Meeting of the West African Road Safety Organisation (WARSO).
The four-day event, which commenced in Accra yesterday, will enable participants from academia, civil society organisations (CSOs), ministries, departments and agencies from member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to discuss ways to improve road safety in the region.
They will also deliberate on how to include road safety in the basic education curriculum, formulate a non-motorised transport policy to encourage people to use bicycles and do more walking, promote the wearing of crash helmets and enhance safety of pedestrians.
The conference, which is on the theme: “Evaluating road safety performance in West Africa under the Decade of Action for Road Safety – 2011 to 2020”, is being hosted by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC).
Earlier at a press briefing in Accra yesterday, the Executive Director of the NRSC, Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, had said the event would also create a platform for the participants to discuss the need for countries to obtain information on passengers, so that in the event of road accidents, victims could be identified with ease.
“We will also discuss the UN Road Safety Convention, which member countries ratified, and ask questions on how far each country has reached in the implementation of the convention,” she added.
The Executive Director said road crashes had been identified globally as socio-economic challenges leading to major deaths in the sub-region.
“People injured or killed on our roads are the breadwinners and contributors to the economy at large,” she said.
She explained that it was to promote road safety that member countries in the sub-region embraced the idea to come together to form WARSO in May 2008.
“This organisation allows member countries to observe some of the successes we have chalked up, as well as identify challenges we are facing,” she said.
Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said as part of activities of the meeting, the association had outlined a number of programmes, such as media engagement, road safety education, sensitisation, outreaches and school visitations to educate pupils and students on road safety.
“It is our hope that we can use the WARSO Day to look at what we have done as member countries and evaluate ourselves to see whether we are in tune with what the whole world is saying about road safety and what we can do to improve situations we are lacking,” she said.