Broken down vehicles pose danger on highways as revised towing policy delays

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Government’s failed attempt to implement a sustainable towing policy over seven years ago has left broken down vehicles on highways, exposing motorists to danger and contributing to road crashes, injuries and deaths.

A tour of major roads in the capital paints a concerning picture of improperly parked and stationary vehicles.

Unreliable towing services and non-functioning streetlights, coupled with faded road markings pose constant danger to motorists both day and night.

In August 2017, the government halted a proposed mandatory towing levy, following a public outcry and series of calls for review, which prompted government to plan a revised policy.

The plan was to establish a new framework to manage broken down and disabled vehicles on roads to reduce accidents.

But seven years after the failed towing system attempt, broken down vehicles continue to jeopardise safety on major roads.

“If things were to work as planned, cars that break down on the road should have been towed within 30 minutes. Unfortunately, you see stationary vehicles on the road for days and, sometimes, even months.”

“Cars that have issues on the road usually don’t have the triangles or anything to send a signal that they are stationary. Because most streetlights are off, one is likely to experience an accident when they lose focus,” some drivers told TV3 in an interview.

Legal regime for new policy

The Road Traffic Act (Act 683) outlines penalties for owners who fail to promptly remove their broken down vehicles.

Section 21 of Act 683 stipulates that “an owner of a motor vehicle or trailer or a person in charge of a motor vehicle or trailer which has broken down on a roadway and who does not cause the immediate removal of the motor vehicle or trailer from the roadway commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than 250 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than 12 months or to both.”

As part of plans for the delayed policy, the Road Traffic Regulations, L.I. 2180, underwent reviews to accommodate the introduction of a new towing policy.

The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) mandated vehicle owners to pay a road safety fee when processing their roadworthy certificates, effective July 2017.

Owners of motorbikes were to pay GH¢10 annually, while owners of non-commercial vehicles would pay GH¢20.

For commercial vehicles, taxis would attract GH¢40; mini-buses would pay GH¢80, while heavy-duty trucks would pay between GH¢80 and GH¢200 annually depending on their tonnage.

In addition, foreign vehicles that were not required to go to the DVLA for road worthy certification were to be made to pay the required fees at the points of entry.

The dusty nature of some road networks, similar to the Pokuase-Nsawam road, exacerbates the issue, particularly at night.

It is crucial for drivers and vehicle owners to take responsibility for removing their breakdown vehicles from the road.


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