‘Road safety is a shared responsibility, it’s everyone’s business’
Staff Officer, Media Relations and Strategy, Federal Road Safety Corps, Bisi Kazeem, spoke to TONY OTARU in Abuja on issues of road safety, what the Corps is doing to ensure less road crashes and what roles stakeholders can play in this regard.
Regarding speed limiter, how far with its implementation, what are the challenges, reaction and cooperation from transporters, transport companies and drivers, etc?
The enforcement of speed limiting device implementation from the February 1 to November 6, this year, has recorded a total of 66,340 number of vehicles, which constitutes 40 per cent of the vehicles stopped nationwide.The challenges faced, include commercial vehicles not fully embracing the idea of installing the speed limiter, especially the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
In the process of implementation, the Corps has so far booked 56,623 drivers, cautioned 42,061 and arraigned 485 in mobile courts, with respect to speed limiting device installation, and impounded 19,091 vehicles. The total of those cautioned to vehicles impounded is 118,260 vehicles.
The above sums the success rate of the implementation. The Corps is doing more to ensure all commercial vehicles install the device through public enlightenment and enforcement campaigns.The National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers/Petroleum Tanker Drivers (NUPENG/PTD) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) have fully endorsed and embraced the initiative, while NURTW still complain of the high cost.
This has made the Corps Marshal, in company of others, to visit an indigenous company manufacturing the device for a possible reduction in price.
What efforts are in place or being made to ensure less accidents and safer road transportation as the Yuletide nears?
The FRSC is carrying out an Ember months/ end of year campaign, which comes in two folds- enlightenment and enforcement of the motoring public.All staff of the Corps, including the Special Marshals, will be deployed to major corridors on the Operation Zero, which is the codename for ember months campaign.
Equally, the Corps has initiated the Operation Cobra to checkmate traffic infractions, such as the use of mobile phone while driving, dangerous driving, traffic light violation, route violation and overloading. With these in place, the Corps expects to achieve a safer road use this season. Mega rallies are being organised and mobile courts are being set up, while breathalyzers are used randomly to stop drunk drivers.
How big is the challenge of bad roads across the country?
Come to think of this, it is the bad attitude of drivers on the roads that is a challenge, not bad roads. Good roads now appear to be danger traps for motorists who exhaust their speedometers, which often result in loss of control, tyre blowouts and crashes.Out of the three major causes of road crashes —- human factors, mechanical factors and environmental factors human factor is the most.
What roles should passengers, governments and transporters play to reduce road crashes, especially this season?
Passengers have a lot to do, which is mainly a cautionary role. This is what is termed ‘passenger watch,’ where they are supposed to vigilante their own lives.In this manner, they will watch out for the driving attitude of the driver and voice their displeasure where the driver goes above the recommended speed limit.
Some passengers, however, are always in a hurry; hence they encourage the drivers to go above the recommended speed limit. For these categories of passengers, it is advised that they should start their journeys early, if they want to arrive early. Passengers should be active and not passive. They can stop that driver before he kills them.
The government is doing its best through the relevant agencies to provide road safety management, safer road infrastructure (installation of road furniture) and ensuring safer vehicles, which are installed with speed limiting devices and have functional seatbelts, airbags, good tyres, etc.
The government equally offers post-crash care to road traffic crash victims, and this is one of the core functions of the FRSC.Transporters should equally make sure they have safe vehicles and must always carry out routine vehicle checks, which find expression in the term, WOFT (water, oil, fan and tyre), as this will help them use the road safely. They are also to ensure they check their wipers, breaks and lights before the drivers embark on any journey.
What advice for all stakeholders?
To all stakeholders, I reiterate the Corps Marshal’s position that ‘road safety is a shared responsibility’. It is everyone’s business; hence it is a call for all to embrace a safe road use culture.
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