Road safety and accident prevention
In Nigeria the incidents of road, mishaps have become a common occurrence that it has been mistaken as act out of nature or an act of God! When one falls a victim of road accident, becomes maimed in one way or the other, we tend to generally refer to the person’s fate as an act of God. No. This is wrong designation. Rather it is an unscrupulous act that caused the mishap. In this part of the world, road accidents have become a frequent incident such that nobody or agency cares to determine what act particularly led to the incident, publicize it, and make efforts to prevent further occurrence.
Men and women in Nigeria have become in one way or the other, deformed, and oftentimes, this deformed state of the casualty is permanent, leading some people who didn’t know the person before to think that it is his/her nature, or how God created them. Such casualties abound; the renowned late Professor Chinua Achebe, Mohammed Fawehinmi; to mention but a few. The economic and financial implication to the casualties family notwithstanding.
What of those who fatally passed on in such incidents; the Late Minister of State for Labour, Mr. James Ocholi, the first Son of the Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo; to mention but a few. The nation, the family and company of such victims miss their contributions and impacts.
Many factors could cause or prop up road mishaps. But the difference between the whiteman and the blackman is that the former studies the incident and determines the causative the factor, while the latter simply tags the incidents as “na accident” and it ends, and goes to cater for the survivors or commit the dead to the morgues; without recourse to determining the causative agent so as to prevent another coming commuter from falling victim. The whiteman has gone as far as determining the cause even when all occupants perished by inventing the black box in flights. But an average blackman would say to the survivors (where there is any) that “you should thank God, that you are alive”. Yes, one should thank God he survived but it should not end there. The root of the “matter” should be figured out.
It has been reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Abuja, that last year, 2016, Nigeria recorded a very high level of road crashes. In the report, a total of 5,053 Nigerians were killed in the crashes; the number of crashes recorded were 11,363; a total of 30, 105 Nigerians were injured in the accidents. And that 94% of the victims are adults! Supposedly, family bread winners who lost their lives or get maimed in their struggle to fend for the family or actualize their dreams. This figure is alarming, and a disturbed mind cannot remain in this state of inertia while our people perish in this manner. Since everyone travels or commutes irrespective of the distance, everyone is therefore a potential risk-bearer.
We should not forget that the above figure were only the crashes that got the attention of the Road Safety Commission and or the police – the reported ones. This implies that the real number of deaths and casualties could be higher than the above figures.
In recent times, Boko Haram insurgents have been the highest killer of Nigerians since their incursion into the Nigerian social milieu. In their about eight years of dastardly operation, they have killed about eleven thousand Nigerians. What is next to Boko Haram is therefore Road accidents! And this is worse off! This is because, irrespective of your place in the society – politician: president, governor, minister, medical doctor, youth, children, foreigner, everybody. This affects anyone that makes use of the roads in Nigeria. In fact no Nigeria is exempted in this danger.
Secondly, of all hundreds of NGOs in Nigeria, none is found to be focused on road accident prevention! Little wonder in our clime, it is said that “accidents perch on leaves; you never know when you brush by them”. The extant Federal Road Safety Commission should be described as “Accident Reporting Agency” or better, “Particulars Checking Commission”; or at best, “Traffic Control Commission”. This is because from their work we shall describe them or biblically put, from their fruits we shall know them. Yes, I agree that they are working on the speed factor of road accidents according to the corps marshals recent interview on channels TV, but is speed the only factor?
However, it is imperative to highlight some of the causative factors/agents of road mishaps in Nigeria, so that together we can work on them. I would like to group them into two articulate groups: i. Quantitative. ii. Qualitative.
By quantitative factors I mean factors that are obviously identifiable and self evident; while qualitative factors are distinctive and mutual to the driver of the vehicle.
The quantitative factors or agents include but not limited to the following:
Quantitative Qualitative Factors
Pot – holes Drunk driving
Worn-out tyres Drowsy driving
No side mirror Over speeding
No road signs Wrongful overtaking
No signals Unwarranted pursuit of traffic offenders by law enforcer
No headlamps • Use of Vehicle to stop another vehicle
Rickety/wobbling vehicle Loud Music
Insecure loading Phone calls/text messaging
Over loading Over confidence
Speed bumps / humps Road contest/Struggle
Brake failure Poor visibility (rain, darkness)
Sudden road block (police & construction companies) Fear
Broken down /
These factors (quantitative and qualitative) shall be x-rayed, and palpable solutions
be recommended in subsequent writings.
Together, let us tame this danger (accident) by constructive contributions.