Tackling high rate of road accident rate

Traveling from one place to another started from time immemorial, primitive generations used several ways on seas and land. They used animals such as camels, donkeys, horses, chariots, etc for their journey or delivery of goods. The advancement in technology has brought immeasurable developments, it eases the tediousness and perturbing harsh weather one encounters in desert or snowy places. The invention of fuel-driven bikes and automobiles has made the past methods almost obsolete but still, they are used in villages. Yet, despite the limitless development in transport, there is a significant increase in incidences of mobility and mortality rates due to road accidents. Road accidents are significantly high in most developing countries and Nigeria is one of them, the accidents have claimed many lives and at the same time cripple the economy of both the individual and country at large.

Innocent lives are being lost on daily basis due to preponderance of road accidents; which is was why the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) was established in 1988 with statutory responsibilities for road safety administration in Nigeria. The major cause of road accidents in Nigeria is high defiance to enshrined driving rules which are set to guide drivers on the way for a safe journey, thus there is the need to take road accidents as an issue that requires urgent interventions. Furthermore, the inevitable corruption which has eaten deep into the flesh and bones of Nigerians and officers responsible for the enforcement of traffic rules has continued to drag us back; it breeds people that should have no business on wheels drive. According to an online platform naija-auto.com, there are three ways one could choose to have a drivers’ license. The first one is enduring the strenuous task of applying for new drivers’ license at the FRSC office.

The second one is to negotiate with express license agents to get everything done at a high price and the last one is having a deal with fake license makers with much less money. The majority of people prefer to spend much by taking the second-mentioned method which is a threat to the safety of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Some of the core causes of road accidents include over-speeding, over-loading, and carefree over-taking; some drivers drive at high speed not minding the passengers they carry, before leaving bus stations they usually jam-pack the bus with both over-passengers and loads. Also, negligence to laid down driving rules has been a the major cause of accidents, some drivers are aware of such rules while others disobey them out of ignorance.

Also, some drivers know full well that their vehicle needs to be serviced but still ignore such and travel like that which in the end leads to technical faults amidst forest or sometimes stoppage of the engine while on the road, causing unforeseen accidents or head on collisions. Consuming intoxicants and hard drugs is another cause of accidents; some drivers cannot take to the wheels without abusing drugs; they are addicted, which makes them see drugs and intoxicants like ordinary sweeteners.

The rate of traveling would increase and several traffic agents that are supposed to be on major roads are not enough to reach out down to villages where most driving rules violation is rampant. Abiding by driving rules is important as it reduces the rate of accidents, passengers also contribute to accidents as some of them pressurise drivers to drive fast while others remain mute when the driver is recklessly. 

The level of orientation in the rural areas is low, FRSC is trying in adverts and jingles on radio and televisions but the language being used is English which most rural dwellers find hard to comprehend. Few incidents of road accidents attracted investors from abroad to invest in a country; that could lead to development in businesses and help a country out of recession. To minimize and prevent road accidents in Nigeria, the government at all levels should undertake the construction of new roads in areas that seriously need them and expanding narrow ones; the narrow ones become congested and hard to pass during festivities. Speed limit devices should be made compulsory for drivers of personal and public vehicles; also anyone caught carrying loads more than required should be punished, irrespective of whoever he or she is.

There is a paramount need for authorities responsible for maintaining traffic regulations to install Closed Circuit cameras (CCTV) at strategic locations which could assist in detecting and identifying traffic offenders easily. Road safety officers and other sister agents should be given the mandate to arrest anyone that violates driving rules, the immunity which some leaders enjoy and do whatever they like on the roads should be minimized or abrogated. Heavy duty vehicles that over-speed in towns should have a specific location at the outskirt of cities so that they could be parked there and smaller vehicles should be used in conveying what they bring to markets. Reckless driving under the influence of intoxicants should attract huge fines or serve for months in correctional centers, doing this would serve as a deterrent to others and any station that allows such drivers to operate deserves to be closed down.

Mathew writes from Maiduguri, Borno state.