The Chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) for the Accra-Kaneshie-Cape Coast-Takoradi Station blames most road accidents on drivers who are trained by driving schools in the country.
Mr. John Kwasi Ansah stated that such drivers must be taken through another form of driving by a commercial driver because the drivers trained by driving schools do not have extensive experience.
The Chairman made the call during an interview while discussing his driving experience and the current spate of accidents in the country.
Mr. Ansah has been driving for the past 34 years without being in an accident.
He began driving at the age of 17 for Neoplan buses, which carried 70 passengers.
Mr. Ansah said, “I was born at Mamprobi Polyclinic in Accra here in 19, but I hail from Assin Adwuneasi in the Assin Central Municipality of the Central Region”.
“I attended School at Mataheko 2 Primary School. My uncle whom I was living with was into transport. He had these Neoplan buses, so we all decided to join from 1982 to 1984. I started as conductor [mate], and I was a mate for three years, and between 1986 and 1987, I decided to learn driving”.
The Chairman explained that “I started driving in the year 1988. I started with a Neoplan bus which was carrying 70 passengers to Accra and Cape Coast, Accra and Sunyani”, among others.
“Anytime you drive, you gain experience. It’s not one day”.
Mr. Ansah said, “there are differences in learning driving. Driving schools train drivers for just four months, and they are on the road. Some also learn at washing bays, but if you want to be a commercial where you would want to drive for long hours and long journey, you have to work with someone for over a year after your training with the driving schools”.
“Now they say driving school, and the majority of accidents are caused by drivers who were trained by the driving school.” The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) office does not respect us [commercial drivers], but we need to form a group that will take drivers who have been trained by driving schools on long journeys because there have been several accidents.”
Causes of Accident
The GPRTU Chairman stated that some causes of road accidents are avoidable, but drivers are involved in accidents due to a lack of training.
“Speeding also contributes to accidents.” A gust of wind while driving can cause an accident. There is wind on the Densu stretch of the Kasoa Highway…Tema Motorway…Takoradi Junction…Apam Junction and others, can cause an accident because when you speed around these places, the car turns into the air, and if they collide, it can cause an accident. The natural wind, not the spiritual wind.”
Mr. Ansah said, “we [GPRTU Accra-Takoradi Station] dot take new drivers here. We take drivers who are old with us…those who have the experience to be our drivers”.
“Some drivers can park their cars in Accra or Takoradi, pick a different car to Accra or Takoradi, and that driver will tell us all your mistakes. Our drivers have far more experience than those who go to driving school because they tour all the regions during their apprenticeship and so they look at how their masters are driving”.
Mr. Asnah recalled one of his master’s advice to him while learning to drive: “my master told me not to speed while driving when it is raining… When I asked him why, he said, “When it rains, the vehicle tyre is not on the road…the water is in between the road and the tyre, so any site mistake can cause an accident.”
“There are times for driving…evening driving, morning driving, afternoon driving and night driving, and all these would be done by learning under a driver and not the driving schools”.
He explained that “those who do not have any station cause the most accident 2020 January to date…no accident has occurred here…because we talk to our drivers and train them”.
Mr. Ansah observed that “speed ramps are also causing an accident due to the steep nature of these ramps on major highways”.
“When you go to Benin, for instance, they have speed ramps that are not steep, and so drivers, when they get to these ramps, do not have to slow down and change to gear one before they start, but here in Ghana, drivers must stop at these ramps and start the driving all over again which brings tiredness to these drivers”.
He said, “the driver is tired of climbing these ramps. They should just be down so that drivers will not stop and change to first gear. I am not saying it is not good”.
The Chairman explained that “passengers will also complain of delays by the drivers because of these ramps”.
Mr. Ansah stated that driving has helped him throughout his life and that those who want to get into it must learn it thoroughly.
“The little money we save each day can add up to more than a month’s salary for a bank manager.”
Mr. Ansah has driven from Ghana to countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo, among others.