Road accident a major cause of death among little children
Road safety is described as the methods or the ways designed in other to minimize or reduce the likely risk that a road user may encounter for using the roads. Road safety focuses on prevention of serious injuries and untimely death. It is important to note that road accident has claimed so many lives while many other victims sustained permanent injuries. For instance, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that more than one million people are killed on road accident around the world each year. For example, in 2004 World Health Organization (WHO) published a report that not less than 1.2 million people were killed 50 million injured in traffic collisions on the road around the world each year and it was a major cause of death among little children of age nine to ten (9-10). In addition, in 2007, road accidents claimed 3,267 in three (3) states in Nigeria namely Osun, Ondo, and Oyo State. Source: The Punch Newspaper, Nigeria. A research also shows that one (1) out of five (5) deaths daily comes from road accident. Painfully enough, World Health Organization (WHO) also noted that the problem was most sever in developing countries. This is my major pain and concern, that in developing countries we lose huge number of human capital on our roads and simple prevention measure could have reduced this high number of deaths. Hence, the need for proper road safety measures cannot be over emphasized in road transportation.
The irony on Nigeria roads
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) a national road safety agency responsible for road safety administration in Nigeria, revealed that bad road in Nigeria was not responsible to high mortality in Nigeria. This is because motorists are always cautious whenever, they are driving on a bad road, having realized that speed on a bad road is highly dangerous and that it can damage their cars or lead to a fatal accident hence, they move their vehicles cautiously and slowly as a result of this, high rate of accident and mortality are reduced on the bad road.
However, on a good road it was a different game entirely, where motorists on expressway or high way see it as an opportunity to showcase speed, they are less cautious unlike the motorists on the bad road, since it only takes a split of a second for an accident to occur hence, the accident rate are higher on a good road in Nigeria. This is why I personally see road safety to be individual responsibility and it is a primary responsibility for all road users, at least to save one’s life and the lives of other road users. If accident rate could be higher on a good road due to over speeding and careless driving and lesser on a bad road due to cautious driving, then every road user especially the motorists must not throw caution into the air whenever they are using the road. This is the first law we all need to obey to make our roads safer.
A clarion call to action
Furthermore, since we know that road safety is to encourage safer behavior of all road users in other to reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads every day. Hence, everyone or every road user is expected to rise up to the task to make our roads safer on their parts. Individual should know the road sign and the traffic rules and put them into practice, motorists must ensure that their vehicles are in good condition before they ply the road, with these, inappropriate conduct or misbehavior of many road users will reduce. Since it is not hurt to be road safety conscious hence, we should see it as a civic duty to make our roads safer in developing countries.
My early days in primary school
Having talked about road safety as a primary responsibility of an individual, it is important to note that the major responsibility relies on government. Government should ensure that simple road safety education should be part of the school curriculum from primary to secondary school level. This is because road crashes are the leading cause of death among children, (BBC). In addition, according to BBC, road accidents killed 260,000 children in a year and about 10 million injured. Even in higher institution it should be part of general studies (GNS), since our students are also part of the road users hence, the need for road safety education must be considered in all our schools. For example, I remember that I got to know what the each traffic light stands for when I was still in primary school. Our social studies teacher taught us and even composed a song for it and we were made to rehearse the song several times, by this it stuck in our long time memory so, when I got to secondary school and even till now whenever I see a traffic light I know within me that I had the understanding from my primary school days. Therefore, to build a good road safety culture we should start to teach our children simple road safety education in their schools. Government is expected to take a leading role in this regard.
Public enlightenment, strict enforcement and provision of necessary infrastructure Are government responsibilities
More also, public enlightenment on road safety by the government in developing countries through its agencies must be encouraged e.g. in Nigeria Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO), National Orientation Agency (NOA) among others are government agencies. All media stations must not be left out in this task. In Nigeria speed limits seems to be a mere suggestion when you see some motorists showcase their over speeding on the road and if they are caught little money is enough to set them free. Therefore, strict enforcement to ensure compliance to road safety rules and regulations must not be undermined in developing nations, good road development and proper maintenance must not be left out as well, if our roads must be safer. I also noticed that some bridges and roads where necessary in Nigeria lack guard rail these and many others are the responsibilities of the government in developing nations.
Nevertheless, the importance of road transportation cannot be over emphasized in the growth of any given nation and more importantly highest number of people in any nation depend on road transport for their movement daily hence, the need to make our road safer for all road users is inevitable.