The clarion call last week by the United Nations Decade of Action For Road Safety and Injury Prevention in Nigeria on relevant stakeholders to take appropriate actions towards checkmating rising cases of road crashes in the country, deserves optimum seriousness.
A representative of the body, Amb. Chief Prince Chidiadi, who made the call while delivering lectures as part of activities marking the 2020 African Road Safety Day/World Day of Remembrance for Victims of Road Traffic Crashes, warned that if appropriate measures were not taken by relevant stakeholders to avert the menace, the fatality rate of crashes could increase by 65 per cent by 2021.
He regretted that most victims of road traffic crash emanate from developing economies of the world where economic losses arising from road crashes were up to five per cent of the GDP, running into billions of dollars per year.
He said Remembrance Day should serve as a wake-up call for all stakeholders to join hands in addressing the challenges of road carnage in the continent.
Also speaking, Officer-in-charge, Fire Risk Reduction, and Public Education, Anambra State Fire Service, Mr. Smart Akpagu, recommended the animation of policies that provide supports to road traffic crash victims.
He also canvassed for prompt professional advice to the government on better general road infrastructure, as well as increased sensitization of collaborative partners and motoring public on-road use policies.
Earlier, State Sector Commander, Andrew Kumapayi restated the FRSC commitment to attaining the goals of the UN Decade of Action For Road Safety through its various programmes.
He explained that the lecture series was targeted at highlighting issues of road safety, loss of lives and economic destruction people suffer as a result of a traffic crash.
He lauded Governor Willie Obiano for the provision of a working environment, calling on residents to always be cautious while driving as road safety remained everybody’s responsibility.
He also commended stakeholders including the Nigerian Police, Fire Service, Red Cross, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Community leaders among others for their commitment to the campaigns for safer road environments, calling for more collaboration.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) recorded 3,947 road crashes and 1,758 deaths in the first quarter of 2020. The Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, who disclosed this in Abuja, said that the recorded deaths occurred between January and March 2020, adding that FRSC had not relented in its efforts at reducing carnages on the highways.
He said the deaths occurred in various routes within the country during the period. “The 3,947 number of Road Traffic Crashes (RTC) recorded in the first quarter of 2020 involved 6,448 vehicles.
Out of this number, 1,758 were killed and 11,250 were injured. Kaduna zone recorded the highest number of crashes, totalling 689 while Enugu zone recorded the lowest with 102 crashes,” he said.
Mr Kazeem noted that the corps had adopted the three strategies of adequate public education, subtle enforcement and full enforcement to make motorists comply.
He said the FRSC had ensured full use of the services of the National Traffic Radio 107.1 FM, including its live stream on social media platforms to reach out to the motoring public.
He encouraged drivers to obey traffic laws and regulations and cooperate with traffic officers, as it was in their best interests and that of other road users. Mr Kazeem, however, urged passengers to properly check vehicles before boarding as many commercial vehicles were not road worthy.
Also, the Q2 2020 road transport data reflected that 2,080 road crashes occurred in Q2 2020. Speed violation is reported as the major cause of road crashes in Q2 2020 and it accounted for 47 per cent of the total road crashes reported.
Wrongful overtaking followed closely as it accounted for 10 per cent of the total road crashes recorded while Dangerous Overtaking recorded the least of the total road crashes reported.
A total of 5,535 Nigerians got injured in the road traffic crashes recorded. Out of the total Nigerians that got injured, 5,166 are adults representing 93 per cent while the remaining 369 Nigerians are children representing 7 per cent. 4,393 male Nigerians, representing 79 per cent, got injured in road crashes in Q2 2020 while 1,142 female Nigerians, representing 21 per cent got injured. 855 Nigerians got killed in the road traffic crashes recorded in Q2 2020.
According to the data supplied administratively by the FRSC but verified and validated by the (National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), out of the 6,390 number of casualties, Kaduna state leads the pack of the top five states with 619 from 1,084 persons involved, followed by Kwara state, which recorded 409 casualties from 660 persons involved, Ogun state recorded 408 casualties from 845 persons. Others include, Bauchi and Oyo states with 368 and 349 casualties, respectively.
The issue of frequent road crashes in the country resulting to the colossal loss of lives is not only deplorable but also quite worrisome.
It is on the backdrop of this gory picture that we urge the relevant stakeholders to heed the admonition of the United Nations Decade of Action For Road Safety and Injury Prevention in Nigeria by taking proactive measures that will forestall the rise in road crashes.