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Watch Gen. Akuffo’s 1974 speech about Ghana’s switch to right-hand drive

Late General Akuffo, Commander of the Ghana Army and chairman of the Right-Hand Drive Committee

Today, August 4, 2022; marks exactly 48 years since Ghana decided to ditch the British colonial habit of driving on the left lane and switch to the right.

The decision was to help align more with our francophone neighbours in a bid to improve road safety and boost intra-regional trade and commerce.

The legal basis for Ghana’s switch was contained in the National Redemption Council Decree, NRCD, 212, Right-Hand Traffic Decree 1973 enacted by the General Kutu Acheampong regime.

But it was General Akuffo, Commander of the Ghana Army and chairman of the Right-Hand Drive Committee at the time, who gave a press briefing to update the nation on how the implementation of the decree had gone, two months after the August start date.

He is captured in an archived video (October 1974) stating thus: “As you are well aware, the change from left to right-hand traffic was successfully launched at 6 am on the 4th of August exactly two months today.

“The changeover to date has been smooth. Accidents connected with it, I am happy to inform you, have been insignificant, bearing in mind, the magnitude of the operation.

“It is interesting to note, that the overall accident rate has rather ducked obviously as a result of people being more careful than normal.”

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Watch General Akuffo’s presentation below:

Between 1964 and 1977, similar changes took place across sub-Saharan African countries, with countries like Nigeria (they switched two years before Ghana), The Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda all making the switch.

Today, the right-hand drive is the norm across most of the world, thanks to being signatories to the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic of 1949, Article 9 of the convention.

It states in part that “All vehicular traffic proceeding in the same direction on any road shall keep to the same side of the road, which shall be uniform in each country for all roads.”

 

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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