Parliament has passed into law the Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2020 which is to ensure the protection of an unborn child on the country’s roads.
The bill amends the Road Traffic Act, 2004 (Act 683) to lay out sanctions against drivers and cyclists whose actions and inactions result in injury or death to unborn children in the womb of pregnant mothers.
Under the bill, the law will recognise the loss of an unborn child as a distinct loss, not only an injury suffered by a pregnant woman.
Also, under the new law, drivers and riders whose actions result in the death or injury of an unborn child, will serve a minimum of three years and a maximum of seven years in jail, if found guilty.
The Kunbungu MP, Ras Mubarak, Chairman of Parliament’s Constitution and Legal Affairs Committee, Ben Abdallah, Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah–Bonsu, and Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu are the joint proponents of the Bill.
“In order to protect posterity particularly in the case of road transport, the Bill seeks to amend the Road Traffic Act, 2004 (Act 683) to ensure that the law recognises the loss of an unborn child as a separate and distinct loss and not only an injury suffered by a pregnant woman,” the four MPs observed.
According to a memorandum accompanying the Bill, it is for the protection of children, generally.
For instance, Section 14 prohibits a person from driving a vehicle with a child of less than five years in the front seat of the vehicle.
This is the first time in history a private member’s Bill proposed by Members of Parliament (MPs) has been approved by Parliament.
All other laws approved by parliament have come from the President, through his Ministers.
This enables private citizens and individual MPs, who are not ministers of state, to initiate or introduce bills for consideration in parliament.