Tackling the menace of road accidents in ember months
Sir: It has become a general trend over time that as the year gradually grinds to a halt, accidents become the order of the day. Nigeria has recorded thousands of accidents, out of which a large percentage occurred during the months of September, October, November and December, generally referred to as the ember months and festive periods.
According to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) report of 2017 accident record, over 4,410 deaths and 23,392 persons were injured in road fatalities. There is no doubt that the trend within the festive periods carries a larger percentage of the causalities. It should be noted that these road carnages are upbeat during festive seasons like Christmas and New Year. Why these periods of time in the year, one may ask? The truth of the matter is that, at this time of the year everyone is eager to see their loved ones, hence there is increase in both human and vehicular movements across the length and breadth of the country.
Undoubtedly, many, including drivers and passengers are guilty as everyone seems to be in a hurry and there is the notion that there is no time to think even of safety. It is in the light of the above development that heavy traffic would be generated from both human and vehicular activities, which will in turn put additional pressure on the road and the attendant disobedience to road traffic rules and regulations. Your guess is as good as mine as far as the result is concerned.
Wrongful overtaking and speeding become the order of the day as veritable option to escape the traffic and get to the destination faster. Needless to state that most of the drivers plying these roads are under the influence of alcohol before mounting the wheels, which is to the detriment of the passengers’ safety, who themselves had burdened the vehicle with more than enough loads intended to be conveyed to their loved ones. With reckless driving in an overloaded vehicle, plying a pressurized road, coupled with the commercial drivers’ attitude of drinking and driving, the probability of an accident is inevitable.
We have had enough of bloodshed and causalities record hence, as we approach this year’s festive period, there is need for us to look into the road accident issues. Activities of the Federal Road Safety Corps during the ember months should be encouraged and vigorously pursued. Other sister security agencies should also be co-opted during this period to assist the FRSC in order to drastically reduce carnage on our highways. It would not be out of place if budgetary allocations to the FRSC be increased if funding has been identified as a problem in implementing this laudable programme in ember months. Many of these accidents on our roads can be prevented if collectively we seek to address the situation. For one thing, every individual traveling can take precautionary measures to reduce the level of luggage they carry when traveling to see their families and relatives as most of these things can be sold and bought when they arrive their destination.
While passengers are being cautious to reduce the luggage, they intend to convey to their loved ones, drivers on their part can do well to maintain focus and be alert while driving. They should avoid drinking before driving to enable them to have a clear mental balance and reduce the risk of drowsiness while driving. The government should also help fix the helpless state of our roads and rehabilitate them. Furthermore, the FRSC should be proactive in their duty and check the reckless attitude of drivers while ensuring they strictly adhere to the speed limit as well as traffic rules and regulations.
Grace Omowunmi Semudara, an intern with PRNigeria, wrote from Abuja.