The loss of pregnancies and injuries to unborn babies as a result of reckless driving and needless motor
accidents would no longer be treated as mere injuries to pregnant women who become victims of
motor accidents as used to be the case. Rather, the unborn fetus in the womb of a pregnant woman
would now be regarded as any full-blown human being under the law.
This is as the result of the passage into law by Parliament, the ROAD TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2020,
on Friday, December 18, 2020. The ACT amended the Road Traffic Act, 2004 (Act 683) to proscribe acts
that constitute dangerous driving and dangerous cycling that result in the death of a human fetus and
for related matters.
The amendment was engineered through the vehicle of a Private Members Bill sponsored by a group of
four MPs who have made history by becoming the first private members to have sponsored a Bill passed
into law in the life of Ghana’s Parliament under the Fourth Republic. The sponsors are: The Majority
Leader and MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu; the Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South,
Haruna Iddrisu; the MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak; and MP for Offinso South, Ben Abdallah Banda.
In order to protect posterity particularly in the case of road transport, the Act amended the Road Traffic
Act, 2004 (Act 683) to ensure that the law recognizes the loss of an unborn baby as a separate and
distinct loss and not only an injury suffered by a pregnant woman.
The Act has amended section 1 of Act 683 to prohibit the driver of a motor vehicle from driving
dangerously on a road as to result in the death of a person including an unborn baby. A driver commits
an offence if the driver drives dangerously on the road that results in the death of a person including an
unborn baby; that driver is, on summary conviction, liable to a term of imprisonment of not less than
three years and not more than seven years.
Similarly, a person who rides a cycle dangerously on a road that results in the death of an unborn baby
commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than
three years and not more than seven years by amending section 30 of Act 683 to achieve this purpose.
Section 124 of Act 683 has also been amended to impose a duty on a driver of a motor vehicle to, as
soon as reasonably practicable, report to a Police station on the occurrence of an accident that results in
the death of an unborn child.
This ground breaking legislation to protect pregnant women and unborn babies from reckless drivers
and motorcycle riders is seen as a remarkable way of breaking the glass ceiling and for the first time in
the history of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, to operationalize the Private Members Bill (PMB).
This feat which was achieved with the passage of the Bill into Law via the PMB, has become a novelty
and one of the most important legacies which would be associated with the Seventh Parliament of the
Fourth Republic led by the Speaker, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye for many years to come.
Private Members Bills are public Bills which are introduced into Parliament for Legislation by Members
of Parliament who are not Ministers of State. Hitherto, every Bill that made it to Parliament was
promoted by the Executive arm of Government because of an erroneous interpretation put on some
clauses of the 1992 Constitution which set limits on the legislative powers of Parliament.
However, the dedication and commitment of the Speaker of the Seventh Parliament, Professor Aaron
Michael Oquaye, working together with the Leadership of the House to break the jinx finally paid off
when the House succeeded in moving and adopting a motion which has now paved the way for this to
The ROAD TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2020 is the first Private Members Bill to be passed in the Fourth
Republic of Ghana.
Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com