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Carnage unabating along Lagos-Ibadan expressway

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Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Three weeks ago, 12 commuters met their untimely death, while eight others sustained injuries in a fatal crash along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, by Fidiwo/Ogunmakin diversion.

The crash, which involved a Lagos State-registered intra-city bus travelling to Ilorin, and a Volvo truck going the opposite direction, was attributed to over-speeding.

Based on reports from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the bus was earlier flagged down for over-speeding by the FRSC patrol team, but the driver ignored the order.

Unfortunately, barely five minutes from where the patrol team flagged down the vehicle, the bus collided with the truck.

This is one of the many road carnage routinely recorded on the ever-busy Lagos/Ibadan Expressway.

In the last one-year, many lives have been lost, many nursing life-threatening injuries, while many families have been put in disarray, as a result of road mishaps of this nature.

Between October 2017 and March 2018 (a period of six months), a total of 108 crashes were recorded on the particular route, leading to 74 deaths, which forms 46 per cent of total traffic deaths in the state within the period, while 403 people were injured, in both Ogun and Lagos states corridors.

On the Ogun State corridor, Ogunmakin said the axis remains the flashpoint, especially at the point of diversion.

It would be recalled that a diversion was created last December on the road to enable the contractor, Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) to repair the weakened bridge on Kilometre 5 of the road, from Sancrete to Fidiwo.

But despite FRSC’s advisory, coupled with traffic signs erected by the construction firm to caution motorists, recalcitrant motorists who are flouting these warning signs have made the crashes inevitable along the axis.

For instance, between October 2017 and March 2018, a total of 23 crashes, resulting in 31 deaths were recorded within the axis alone.

Specifically, on January 9, there was a head-on collision on that section of the road involving a Dangote truck, which collided with a passenger bus, killing the 10 passengers, except the two drivers.  

On Tuesday, February 15, a multiple accident, involving three vehicles, in which seven passengers perished, occurred within the area.

The fatal accident was attributed to wrongful overtaking at the narrowed section of the road, where traffic is diverted.

The victims in that crash were burnt beyond recognition.

Following the accident on January 16, the FRSC Sector Commander, Clement Oladele, in company of the Federal Controller of Works, Ogun State, Popoola, met the leadership of RCC to discuss further safety measures, as well as intensified patrol by the FRSC around the black spot to prevent crashes.  

The FRSC commander reiterated the need for motorists to exercise caution and obey traffic signs on the segment, till the repair works are completed.

On Sunday, March 18, another fatal crash occurred on the same section of the road. This time, the accident involved a Ford Explorer SUV with registration number KJA 278 DS, and a Mazda E2200 bus, with registration number BDG 873 XU.

A total of 19 people 11 male adult, seven female and one male child were involved in the accident.

That crash claimed seven lives- three male adults, three female adults and one child, with 12 people injured.

According to report from the FRSC, the crash was as a result of suspected tyre burst, which caused the vehicle to veer off and collide with the Ford Explorer travelling in the opposite direction, as all traffic were diverted to one section by the construction company.

Preliminary investigation by the FRSC accident investigation team revealed that the burst tyre of the commercial bus had expired, and the bus was not fitted with speed limiting device at the time of the crash.

Oladele, the Ogun FRSC boss confirmed that human error accounted for most of the crashes, as strict obedience to 50km/hour maximum speed and no overtaking are not complied with within the construction site.

“Some of the crashes were head on collisions, which is an aberration in a no overtaking zone. It is more with disobedience to speed limit and no overtaking rules at construction sites.

The standard practice is that whenever a road is undergoing rehabilitation, to protect men and materials at construction site, and other motorists from harm, alternate roads are provided throughout the duration of the road rehabilitation.

“However, where no alternate road is available, barriers and other speed calming measures are introduced to prevent road traffic crashes at construction zones.

Adequate warning signs are however, provided, which motorists are expected to comply with to ensure safety.  

The FRSC has been interfacing with both construction companies, RCC, which is rehabilitating from Sagamu to Ibadan, and Julius Berger, that is responsible for Sagamu to Lagos.

Initially, the two construction companies provided different road construction signs, but the FRSC provided samples of recommended road signs for uniformity and even donated some produced by the FRSC Signage Plant for use throughout the entire stretch of Lagos – Ibadan corridor.”

He noted that the corps engages the contractors monthly to review safety plans and update on level of work done.

“This is without prejudice to either party contacting the other on urgent safety issues. The FRSC also conducts surveillance and enforcement at construction areas to enhance highway safety.

Oladele stressed that the FRSC has introduced measures to prevent speed induced crashes, which include, media advocacy on the need to obey stipulated speed limit on the portion of the road, where there is diversion and release of traffic advisory in the media.

“In addition anytime a crash occurs, the mention of this dangerous area is reiterated to warn other motorists. Also, motorpark rallies and discussions held with commercial vehicles were routinely done.

Advocacies are equally done in churches and mosques in an effort to reach private motorists on the dangers inherent in over speeding within the five-kilometre portion of road diversion.

Increased road surveillance, traffic calming and enforcement were also carried out daily and additional personnel and patrol equipment deployed, including patrol cars, patrol motor bikes and breathalysers to test against for alcohol and drugs.”

On FRSC’s efforts at reducing the intake of alcohol by transporters, he noted that though its enforcement and education against drunk driving is usually intensified during Easter and other festivities, public enlightenment in this regard goes on all year round.

“FRSC is also in collaboration with Guinness Nigeria Plc, and other producers of alcoholic beverages, in order to promote the Don’t Drink and Drive Campiagn.

The corps has a cordial relationship with the beer sector, either corporately, or as individuals in advocacy education, enlightenment and donation of breathalysers to support FRSC enforcement of alcohol and drugs infractions.”

Deputy Chairman, Honesty Unit, Isheri Branch A, NURTW, Ketu, Lagos, Otunba S. A. Adesanya, told The Guardian that the union particularly frowns at drinking in the park, which he insisted constitutes a big offence, and any driver caught in the act has to pay a fine of N5, 000 to the association.

He said: “Any driver, especially those plying inter-state routes are prohibited from drinking, and we have informed them that anyone that wants to drink can only do so after business hours. We know we cannot stop anybody from drinking, but we don’t allow it during working hours.”

Adesanya informed that this measure has helped to drastically curb drinking among drivers in the park.

He added that the union is also paying closer attention to the condition of vehicles plying the road, especially the inter-state routes.

According to him, the union is not relenting in getting its members to come to terms with the need not to over-speed, adding that efforts were also on to ensure members comply with safety regulations as prescribed by the FRSC, even as culprits are duly sanction.

Similarly, the Head, Monitoring Team, Iperi Odo, Ishara, Remo Unit, Ketu Garage, Mr. Agboola Ibrahim said: “We told our members that if they want to drink, they should wait until they close for the day, because driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances is dangerous.”

He also added that any driver found drinking while on duty, would be barred from carrying passengers for four days and also be made to pay a fine.

The ban, he said, is only lifted after the erring driver has satisfied all conditions, and is truly repentant.

To also avert situations that might lead to accidents, he urged passengers not to engage drivers in fights, especially when they are behind the wheels, but make sure they note the vehicle’s number plate, the driver’s appearance and report to NURTW officials, as the union would take disciplinary actions on such erring drivers.


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