Stemming road crashes in Nigeria

The disclosure by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) that1,602 people died in 2,805 road crashes recorded in the last quarter of 2017 is quite alarming. This undesirable tide, no doubt, requires pragmatic and pro-active measures to nip it in the bud, considering the fact that the yuletide season, with its attendant heavy vehicular movements across the country, is fast approaching.
FRSC Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi, who made the disclosure on Wednesday in Jos, the Plateau state capital, at a safe motoring campaign flag-off, said the corps would be strict on its conduct of vision acuity tests to ensure all drivers on the roads do not have defective eyesight.
Oyeyemi, who was represented by the Corps Commander (Operations) in Zone 4 Headquarters, Imoh Etuk, said the enforcement programme would be running concomitantly with the enlightenment campaigns, especially ‘Operation Cobra,’ initiated to curb offences such as light violation, drink driving, dangerous driving, use of phones while driving and route violation, to ensure sanity on the highway.
“In the months of September, October, November and December 2017, the total number of crashes recorded was 2,805. The number of deaths was 1,602 and 20,196 people were involved. The corps has resolved to trend down the figures listed above by a huge margin, and this can only be achieved with the cooperation of all road safety stakeholders. There is also the need for drivers to have their driving licences, highway codes and change from old number plates to new number plates for uniformity of the corps’ licencing scheme which will be captured in the central database of the FRSC,” he said.
In her remarks, the Plateau state FRSC Sector Commander, Patricia Emeordi, said more personnel, including regular, special marshals and road safety club members would be deployed to highways within the cities and towns.
She added that to ensure crash-free and free flow of traffic in the season, there would be an increase in motor park rallies, public enlightenment in churches and mosques, early morning safety ‘cries’ at motor parks and garages, and pre-trip inspection of vehicles, among others.
It is, indeed, worrisome that road accidents have become a normal and re-occurring phenomenon in Nigeria which constitutes a menace in modern times. Although road accidents are global occurrences, Nigeria seems to be worse hit, having the second highest rate of road accidents among 193 ranked countries of the world. Road accidents are the third leading cause of death in Nigeria.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicate that a total of 12,797 Nigerians were killed in road traffic crashes in 30 months. According to the data in 2016, a total of 5,053 Nigerians died in road accidents while in 2017, a total of 5,121 Nigerians died in road accidents.
The data further show that in the first six months of this year, 2,623 Nigerians have perished on road traffic accidents across Nigeria. The second quarter 2018 road transport data released in August by the NBS reflected that road traffic accidents killed a total of 1,331 Nigerians in the second quarter of 2018, up from the 1,292 Nigerians killed in the second quarter of the year.
The NBS had previously reported that a total of 1,306 Nigerians were killed by road traffic crashes in the final quarter of 2017. The report showed that 2,608 road crashes occurred within the second quarter of 2018.
Speed violation is reported as the major cause of road crashes in the second quarter of 2018 and it accounted for 50.65 per cent of the total road crashes reported. Tyre burst and dangerous driving followed closely as they both accounted for 8.59 per cent and 8.40 per cent of the total road crashes recorded.
The report also showed that a total of 8,437 Nigerians got injured in the road traffic crashes recorded, out of which, 7,946, representing 94 per cent, were adults while the remaining 491 Nigerians, representing 6 per cent were children.
Further breakdown showed that 6,415 male Nigerians, representing 76 per cent, got injured in road crashes in the second quarter of 2018 while 2,022 female Nigerians, representing 24 per cent got injured.
These reports are, indeed, scary and require concerted efforts to arrest the drift that not only depletes the nation’s active and productive population cum socio-economic losses but also cause pain and misery to millions of bereaved families. It is instructive that while the FRSC’s efforts at curbing road accidents are commendable, the efforts will come to naught if they are not complemented by motorists and other road users.
We, advise motorists to observe all the safety regulations, especially in coming yuletide season when the fatality rate is normally high. Motorists must avoid alcoholic drinks, hard drugs, over-speeding, dangerous over-taking on the highway, lack of concentration, tiredness, among other factors. Drivers should also obey road signs and traffic laws which are perquisites for road safety. Yuletide is the season of the celebration of life and not death.

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