Picture credited to: Alberta Motor Association (AMA)
Virtually everyone is a road user; everyone depends on road transport for one reason or the other. Indeed, it is an indispensable part of our daily activities which
also has a high element of risk. This explains why safety consciousness is very
important for all road users.
Road safety advice refers to suggestions that can keep road users safe from danger while using the road. The tips are as follows:
1. Do not be too much in a hurry to a place, programme, or an event while using the road. Why? It is better to arrive late than to be a late man.
2. Never use the road as if it belongs to you alone. We are all road users, so put others into consideration while making use of the road.
3. Never drive recklessly on the road. If you do, it may be a short cut to your early grave.
4. Overspeeding may excite you but it kills in a split second.
5. The best way to save lives while driving is to obey traffic rules.
6. If you drink don’t drive, and if you drive don’t drink. But if you prove otherwise, you’re the most dangerous person and a big fool. Why a fool? You are not advised not to drink or drive, you are only advised not to drive when you drink because alcohol can impair your driving ability; consequently making the road unsafe for all road users. So it is only a fool that is aware of danger but still refuses to ‘keep out’.
7. You may leave home early but unforeseen circumstances may cause unnecessary delay on the road; yet, do not overspeed. It is better to lose minutes or hours than to lose lives.
8. Your driving license is not enough without your determination to drive safe always; this is a key to road safety.
9. Don’t forget to use your seat belt. Observation reveals that death occurs as a result of occupants hitting their head against the windshield or being thrown out of the vehicle or banging against vehicle parts. More so, the seat belt also helps to protect a pregnant woman and her unborn child in a car. Nevertheless, pregnant women are advised to wear the lap belt low, in such a way that it pulls downward on the pelvic bones. In other words, they should not wear it against their abdomen. In short, the seat belt still remains the number one vehicle safety device.
10. Nonetheless, it does not hurt to obey traffic rules or yield to road safety tips or advice.
Finally, it is your civic duty as a motorist or road user to make the road safe for all.
Category: road safety (Page 1 of 2)
Modern Event Data Recorder which is popularly known as Black Box is now installed in cars these days; new cars in the UK and the US now come with an installed black box. In a bid to reduce road accidents, car manufacturers now equip their new cars with a functional Black box.
The device shows when, where and how a car is being driven at a particular time. It gives detailed information and also serves as a feedback to the driver and any other third party. It warns the driver by giving alerts if pre-set parameters are exceeded, e.g. when over speeding.
It helps the new drivers, most especially the young drivers, to be more safety conscious while driving on the road, having realized that their driving behaviors can be monitored by a device installed in their vehicle; hence, they resist the temptation to over-speed or being influenced by their colleagues.
The black box device can monitor drivers’ behaviors in the following ways:
*The beginning and the end of a journey
*the use of seat belt
However, the following are the benefits of the black box installed in a car:
- It is inexpensive. Most cars, these days in the UK and the US, come with car black box.
- Once it is installed in a car, it will continue to monitor the driving behaviors of the driver which may be difficult to observe by any other means.
- It can show how a particular car is being used which may be difficult to obtain by any other means.
- In case of an accident, it gives more objective, accurate and detailed information a few minutes before the incident.
- It is the best tool for employers to monitor and assess their drivers.
- It is a vital tool for improving safety and reducing risk and crash rates.
- It is a way to help young and new drivers to improve their driving behaviors.
- It also helps insurance companies to reduce traffic accidents by promoting safe driving through black box insurance.
- Stolen vehicles can be recovered. This is so because some of the black boxes have in-built GPS, which means your car can be tracked if reported stolen. Some boxes have the capacity to stop the ignition.
- Since the black box can provide accurate and detailed information few minutes before an accident, this will fast-track a claims process from insurance companies, wherefore serving as a reward for a good driver.
- It can serve as a vital research tool for researchers to gather as many data as possible on real-life and natural driving behaviors of many drivers and to determine the effects on drivers’ behaviors.
- It can provide data that can help the road safety or highway authorities to easily identify problem locations on their road network.
- Speeding has been identified as one of the leading factors of road accidents. However, with the introduction of the black box technology that enables the insurance companies to come up with Pay-AS- You-Drive policy in the US which means a financial incentive will be given to a good driver, this insurance policy has effectively reduced speed among young drivers, thereby reducing the accident rates that are likely caused by over speeding.
- It helps both the new and young drivers to correct their mistakes.
- It gives alerts if pre-set parameters are exceeded e.g. when over-speeding.
5 Most Notable Limitations of a Car Black Box
- It cannot measure or help to keep a safe distance.
- It cannot prevent dangers; it can only record the data before thedangers occur.
- It cannot tell you who is driving, no matter how safe you are in driving. If somebody else with bad behavior in driving drives your car, this will affect your records because the device cannot tell us or identify who is driving the car at a particular time.
- It only highlights a problem without providing an answer. For instance, when the feedback indicates: “unsafe driving” it will not show you the area of your driving that is not safe
- The audible alert may distract the driver.
Death and injury from road accidents, in some parts of the world, mostly
developing countries, are becoming a notable global problem that requires a
serious attention. For instance, in 1998, the World Bank gave an estimation of 1
million deaths from road accidents. In 2004, the World Health Day, the report
from the WHO and the World Bank showed that the number of deaths recorded
from road accidents was about 1.2 million people while 50 million people were
One may wonder why there is a high rate of road accidents in the developing
countries while in the developed countries the rate of accidents is reducing on
daily basis. In the developed countries, the traffic rules and regulations are
enforced on all motorists while in the developing countries, there is poor
implementation of the traffic rules and regulations coupled with diverse personal
issues that many people in the developing countries have to face. Such issues,
amongst others include, poverty, depression, physical illness, emotional and
financial stress. These are enormous possible factors that may force the road
users to misbehave when making use of the road. Hence, below are 10 possible
ways of reducing road accidents on our roads:
Possible ways of reducing road accidents
1. A political will and commitment by all established organizations concerned
to deal with road traffic accidents. All law enforcement agencies must
consciously work to enforce traffic the rules and regulations on all
motorists. It must be a commitment without favoritism.
2. A careful plan involving education, engineering and enforcement to reduce
the rate of accidents
3. Transport authorities must have the same goal to reduce the high rate of
accidents and the strong passion to bring it to reality.
4. A concrete plan with specific measures for implementation and
enforcement must be made.
5. There must be a strong co-ordination within and among different levels of
government and with private actors.
6. Careful and critical evaluation of measures and their effectiveness to
achieve the desired goal.
7. There must be a road safety policy to achieve this goal.
8. The widespread nature of corruption mostly in Africa, among the
government officials e g. the Police, Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO), etc.
must be checked.
9. Recognizing road the traffic accidents as the handiwork of man and not as a
question of fate.
10. Understanding all accidents as a result of human errors are preventable, if
there is positive change in our attitude toward road safety.
What is Safety?
Safety, as it were, means freedom from danger; it is a state of being safe. Hence,
to ensure there is safety, different things or objects may be used as parts of safety
measures such as human, sign, symbol, education, advertisement, weapon to
mention but a few.
What is Road Safety?
Road safety involves all activities engaged to make all the road users free from
danger. It can also be defined as those measures and methods put in place to
protect all road users from being injured or killed while making use of the road.
However, the road safety of every road user must be the utmost importance of all
the levels of government; hence, the need to implement the road safety policy
that will protect the life of all road users is inevitable. It is the responsibility of all
concerned, in different countries, to enforce the road safety rules and regulations.
In addition, improving road safety in any given environment will surely involve the
following sectors: transportation, health care, emergency service, law
enforcement and education. This 5 agents must be active and ready at all time to
rise up to the task.
It is also good for transport authorities to set a target. Road safety target should
be understandable, cost-effective, monitored, realistic and achievable.
What is Policy?
It is the set of principles and guidelines adopted to achieve the organizational
What is a road safety policy?
It is a set of principles and guidelines formulated to improve the safety of all road
users. It is the statement of various steps to be taken-over to achieve the
envisaged targets set in this field of transport to tackle identified safety issues or
problems. In simple language, it is the wisdom and method of action to guide and
determine both the present and the future affairs of safety in road transportation.
A good road safety policy is meant to look into the different risks associated with
road transport and provide solutions to eliminate all the risks. It is the one that
ensures risks of injuries and deaths are low and manageable.
However, it should be noted that proper planning is important to achieve the
road safety goals. Hence, the road safety plan must contain a vision statement,
policy guidelines, strategies and specific actions to be taken.
High rate of deaths and injuries on public roads are not a fundamental law of
nature as many people assume. Many people believe it is fate for someone to be
injured or die in a road accident. I humbly and firmly wish to let you know that
most accidents on our roads are caused by human errors and that most accidents
we see are avoidable accidents.
All that is needed to eliminate risks or to reduce high rate of deaths and injuries
on our roads is the road safety policy and strong commitment by concerned
institutions to implement the policy. However, examples of countries that have
been successful in improving their road safety are: Sweden, New Zealand,
Netherland and Japan, amongst others. They are able to achieve this feat as a
result of their strong road safety policies as well as strong commitment to
Road accidents in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Why? It is because road accidents constitute a menace in our modern days. Decaying infrastructure, over speeding, reckless driving, among others, are deficiencies that all road users including the government must seek to address so as to reduce the high rate of accidents on our roads. It is a pity and quite painful that out of 193 countries in the world Nigeria is rated 2nd highest in terms of the frequency of road accidents.
Although, road accidents happen in both developed and developing countries but it is more in developing countries, most especially in Nigeria. For instance, in April 2016 not less than 142 people died in motor accidents in just 15 days. Source; Vanguard Newspaper.
More so, according to Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Public Education Officer in 2013, between 19th of December, 2012 and 15th of January, 2013, Nigeria had over 480 traffic crashes and about 1600 people were injured and not less than 280 people died from these crashes.
Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that the high rate of road accidents in Nigeria is not acceptable because it’s fast depleting human resources. To further justify this assertion, below are the 10 notable road accidents in 2016:
- On March 6, 2016, the Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Barrister James Ocholi, his wife and son died in a road accident.
- On 8th March, 2016, a senior rank officer, who was Chief of Training and Operation in the Nigeria Army, Major General Yushau Muhmood Abubakar died in a road accident.
- Another senior rank officer, the Acting General Officer Commanding 3rd Division in the Nigeria Army, Brigadier General MSA Aliyu was also involved in a road accident on March 8th, 2016.
- On March 7th, 2016, The Deputy Governor of Yobe State, Abubakar Ali was involved in an auto accident.
- During the Easter break in 2016, Nigeria recorded 98 crashes and 77 deaths. Source; FRSC Boss.
- On March 6th, 2016, 18 other people were burnt to death in a fatal motor accident at Buzaye Village in Bauch State.
- On 21st of January, 2016, 18 people were killed in a fatal road accident that occurred in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.
- On February 8th, 2016, not less than 30 people died in a road accident; the ugly incident occurred when a trailer carrying over 50 people from Kaduna State tumbled on Lagos – lbadan, Expressway.
- On February 10th, 2016, on the same Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 10 people died in a road accident at Ajebo area. This happened when an 18- seater bus collided with a truck at the said area.
- On April 24th, 2016, six senior serving doctors from Ekiti State died in a fatal motor accident on their way to Sokoto State to attend the 56th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). However, the other passengers who survived the accident were seriously injured.
Nonetheless, in Nigeria today hardly will you see a day that is free from road accidents. In other words, a day hardly goes by without the occurrence of a road accident in Nigeria. Some of these road accidents that get to media stations are announced publicly but the majority of them goes unreported. In view of the foregoing, the majority of the said road accidents that happen on our roads are not part of statistics given because they are not reported to the appropriate authorities. You can then imagine the high rate of accidents in the country beyond the given statistics.
In addition, one of the findings of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), an agency responsible for road safety administration in Nigeria, shows that road accidents is higher on good roads when you compare it to the rate of road accidents on bad roads.
In view of this, it can be rightly said that the deplorable conditions of some of the Nigeria roads are not responsible for the alarming rate of road accidents in Nigeria. However, to a very large extent, the high rate of road accidents in Nigeria is due to the carelessness and negligence of the road users.
In conclusion, my candid advice is that all road users such as pedestrians, motorists and cyclists must not throw caution into the air whenever they are making use of the roads. Road safety should be our collective responsibility in order to reduce the high rate of accidents on our public roads.
Peter Owinje is a transport and logistics expert. He is the founder of Global Transport and Logistics, an international transports blog.
The high rate of road accidents caused by unnecessary speed of some motorists in Nigeria and some other parts of the world is highly irksome and unacceptable. For instance, throughout Europe, over speed is found to be one of the major contributing factors of fatal accidents and also, a factor in the severity of all accidents.
Furthermore, A European Commission survey on attitudes to speed found that:
A significant proportion of drivers enjoy driving fast (36%) and driving too fast is widely recognized as being a contributing factor in accidents (82%).
However, Dr. Kayode Olagunju, Head of Policy Research and Statistics of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), an agency responsible for road safety administration in Nigeria, made it known that over speed accounts for 68.7% of road crashes in Nigeria.
Without any element of doubt, over speed is a potential contributing factor to high rate of road accidents, not only in Nigeria but also in the world at large. Therefore, the need to reduce the rate of accidents directly caused by speed on our public roads becomes a paramount importance in Nigeria and elsewhere.
Road speed limits spell the maximum speed at which all kinds of vehicles and cyclists are allowed by law to travel on a particular road. It is a maximum speed for motorists and cyclists that is safe for fairly large number of road users on a particular road.
Speed limit is usually written on a traffic sign for all road users to see and to obey, but it is important to note that some motorists in Nigeria, most especially the commercial drivers, do not obey the posted speed limits.
In Nigeria, you see many motorists speeding above the posted speed limit with impunity and with different reasons; for instance, some motorists in Nigeria speed because they assume that the road condition is good for them to speed; some of them also decide to speed because they are very familiar to the road; while others also decide to showcase their speed when the road is free; to mention but a few. Truly speaking, there are different reasons while motorists in Nigeria decide to embark on speed occasionally above the speed limit.
However, no matter the reason why motorists speed, it does not undermine the fact that speed, as it were, is one of the major contributing factors of road accidents in Nigeria and even in the world, at large.
Frankly speaking, there is an element of risk when you over speed; in fact, the degree of risk when you over speed is not minimal, at all. Why? The reason is that when speed is a direct contributor to an accident, the seriousness of such an accident is always high.
Moreover, when you over speed you may not be able to see objects clearly thereby, reducing your capacity to assess a potential danger while making use of the road.
For example, a caption on the page of one of the Nigerian newspaper reads; “Speeding trailer driver kills pedestrian” “…The driver was speeding with another truck when he lost control……and killed the victim….” source: The Punch Newspaper, dated Tuesday, 20th September, 2016.
However, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the federal government agency responsible for road safety administration has taken a bold step to enforce the speed limit device on all commercial vehicles in the country in order to reduce the accident rate occasioned by commercial vehicles. When hustling for passengers without any element of doubt, this is a welcome intelligent idea that will surely make the road safer for all the road users.
The primary objective of setting a speed limit in any place is to ensure the safety of the road users, particularly the venerable road users.
Dr. Kayode Olagunju – the Head of Policy Research and Statistics of FRSC, made it known that 60% of road accidents involved commercial vehicles.
Therefore, the enforcement of the speed limit device on all commercial vehicles is a right step in the right direction. The enforcement is the only determining factor for motorists, most especially, the commercial ones to comply with the rule. However, the appropriate enforcement campaign program must be effective and educative by information to the media, interest group and the public at large.
Nonetheless, an effective speed management isn’t just about enforcement of speed limiting devices for all commercial vehicles in the country; it also includes the improvement on decaying road infrastructure from local governments, to the state governments and to the federal government, appropriate signing post at the right places, good road construction, good maintenance of vehicles, education and training. Also, the plans and strategies for enforcement cannot be overemphasized.
A horn is a sound-making device that all kinds of vehicles and cycles e.g. bicycles, tricycles and motorcycles can be equipped with in order to reduce traffic accidents on our roads. It is an important communication device that can save your life and the lives of other road users, if correctly used. However, it is simply used mostly to alert any road users, purposely to keep them safe while making use of the road.
Benefits of having a functional horn in your vehicle
There are some cyclists and motorists that are moving their vehicles and cycles around without equipping them with a functional horn. They took the issue of having a functional horn in their vehicles or cycles for granted but little do they know that the use of a horn has huge benefits in road safety. However, below are some benefits of equipping your vehicle with a functional horn:
- It improves the safety performance of all kinds of vehicles and cycles e.g. bicycles, tricycles and motorcycles.
- It enhances the smooth flow of traffic.
- It is an effective means of communication among motorists when making use of the road.
- It can save your life and the lives of the other road users.
- It is the best means of warning or notifying other motorists and pedestrians of your location, if they have not seen you.
- It can be used to call the attention of any road users when making use of the road.
- It is very effective in reducing traffic accidents
7 appropriate times to use your vehicle horn
Suggested below are some of the appropriate times motorists are expected to use their vehicle horn:
- When a motorist is trying to come into your lane.
- When a pedestrian is walking into a dangerous location unknowingly.
- When you perceive that another motorist is about to hit your vehicle unknowingly.
- It may also be used when you want to turn right or left.
- You may also use your horn when you are at an intersection.
- You can use your horn at a sharp corner where you can’t see the oncoming vehicle.
- You may also give a long blast horn to alert all motorists or road users if something serious is happening e.g. break failure and also to avoid a potential danger e.g. an overloaded articulated vehicle climbing a hill.
3 things the use of your vehicle horn must not seem to be:
- It must not be used as an offensive object:
Your horn must not be used aggressively in order to attack motorists. It is important to note that some motorists are fond of using their vehicle functional horn aggressively to attack other motorists on the public roads. This kind of aggressive behavior can only make things worse for you.
- It must not be used as an oppressive object:
An indiscriminate use of your vehicle horn may be irksome and worrisome air pollution to many road users and especially to the people living in a residential area.
- It must not be used as a toy object:
Kindly permit me to use the word ‘toy’. This is because as at the time of writing this article, there’s no other word which easily came to mind to exactly drive home my point than the word ‘toy’.
Sometime ago, I was sitting in a front seat of a commercial bus when the driver of the said bus started sounding the vehicle functional horn unnecessarily for a long period of time as if the horn was a toy. So, as the journey progressed, I got irritated with the driver’s unruly behavior and then asked him a simple question that why was he honking without a reason. The driver did not respond; in fact, it was as if he didn’t hear me at all but shortly after, he stopped the unnecessary honking. This explains to me that he actually heard my question and his conscience pricked him in silence. Honking without a reason is highly worrisome.
In conclusion, the manner or the way in which some motorists and cyclists use the horn on public roads may be highly burdensome and irksome to road users.
Sometimes, I wonder how some motorists blast each other with their vehicle horns with impunity on public roads.
Truly speaking, when some motorists honk unnecessarily, it may lead to road rage, confrontations and verbal insults. A vehicle horn must be used in a polite manner when necessary and more importantly when there is a danger.
An indiscriminate use of vehicle horns on public roads may irritate other road users and it may lead to unwanted noise pollution. Therefore, all motorists and cyclists are expected to use their vehicle horn in a polite manner such that will boost the safety of all road users. So, when you honk, please honk when necessary. It is impolite to honk unnecessarily on public roads.
The high rate of road accidents in the world at large is highly worrisome. Many people lost their loved ones on road accidents while many others are injured or disabled. Based on the statistics given by WHO, nearly 1.3 million people die in road accidents each year and on average, 3,287 die daily. More so, 20 to 50 million people are injured or disabled due to road traffic accidents.
It is also important to note that road traffic accidents have no respect for anyone or class of people; in other words, rich and poor, young and old etc. are dying in road accidents nearly every day, around the world.
Furthermore, it is also known that road traffic accidents constitute the leading cause of death among the youths. For instance, almost 400,000 people under age 25 die in road accidents every year in the world and on average over 1,000 people die per day.
The major reason for the high rate of deaths on the road is simply because many road users around the world have not seen road safety as an individual key responsibility. This explains why good road safety culture is almost non-existent in many societies particularly in Africa.
The Purport of Road Safety
The regular road users include: pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and passengers in public transport. In a simple language, everybody is a road user. Hence, road safety can be described as the methods and measures put in place in order to prevent all road users from being killed or seriously injured.
Road safety is a great task especially in a society where most road users show lackadaisical attitude to road safety. This may also explain why road safety plan is crucial in road safety so as to ensure the safety of road users.
Road safety plan must cater for the safety of all road users such as:
- Bicycle safety
- Child safety
- Motorcycle safety
- Pedestrian safety
- School bus safety
- Use of seat belt
- Speed prevention etc.
Road Safety Plan
Nonetheless, the road safety plan is a means of achieving the road safety goals and objectives so as to improve the safety culture in the society. More so, before good road safety plans can be made, information or statistics on road traffic accidents and serious injuries and their causes must be fully considered for effective road safety plans.
A good road safety plan must address the key safety issues, needs and recommendations for effective road safety strategies and viable measures for reducing accidents.
Furthermore, a good road safety plan is expected to tackle the road safety problems through education, engineering, enforcement and emergency services.
Road Safety Culture
The word culture, as it were, may have different meanings but when it is used with road safety, it has to do with how the road users interpret and perceive road safety. In other words, it has to do with a collective program of road users’ minds for perceiving, interpreting, expressing and responding to the social facts or realities that are caused by road transport.
Good road safety culture can be referred to as acts and other manifestations of good human behavior toward making the road safer in the society. Having known the consequences and the high risks involved in poor safety behavior of some road users, the need to imbibe the good road safety culture among the road users cannot be taken for granted. Why? It is because a well-developed road safety culture will influence every road user and create positive changes among the road users.
In a good road safety culture, people speak up about any unsafe situations and unsafe behavior of any road users on public roads; they don’t keep silent when any road user violates road safety practices. Every road user in a society where a good road safety culture is in practice will constantly look for ways to improve road safety from his or her own end and take personal responsibility for making the road safe for all.
The Role of the Media in Developing the Road Safety Culture
One major role of any media house in any society is to facilitate effective communication. The media help to keep the general public informed on the latest news. However, the media include the television, radio, internet, newspapers and magazines.
The media are a good tool that can play a crucial role to create good road safety culture in the society. It is a good weapon to fight against poor safety attitude exhibited by road users by carrying out an uncompromising campaign against poor safety attitudes by road users that may lead to serious fatalities and injuries.
Truly speaking, road traffic accidents are major of the notable issues that haunt many nations in the world today, particularly African countries. However, to build up a good road safety culture that will reduce the high rate of accidents in our societies, the role of the media is very significant in this regard. It can change people’s poor behavior and attitudes towards road safety. In simple language, the media, as it were, have huge importance and influence toward making the road safer for all.
In addition, the social media alone can be used to reach a wider audience than any other form of media; in fact, millions of youths, in the world today, engaged in different social media virtually every day. Therefore, the social media are strong platforms where the road safety thinking patterns can be improved upon and where people’s cultural values can be effectively influenced in favor of road safety.
Many people of high caliber and prominent men of worthy character in Nigeria have lost their lives or died young in road accidents involving all kind of haulage trucks. Recently, on June 28, 2018, on Otedola Bridge, Ojodu Berger Lagos Nigeria, a fuel tanker truck exploded killing people and not less than 54 vehicles were burnt. In 2015, a haulage truck caring unlatched container fell on a bus in Illishan, killing 11 occupants that were students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, (OOU), Ogun State and the driver of the said bus. In addition, on July 12, 2016, there was an accident involving a petroleum tanker which crushed 3 cars, not less than 100 people died in that accident in Okogbe area of Rivers State.
It is also interesting to note that properties worth millions, if not billions, were destroyed in different locations across the country in accidents caused by haulage trucks. For instance, in 2015, not less than 21 vehicles, 44 shops, and 3 houses were thoroughly destroyed by a fire accident caused by a petrol tanker that fell off the bridge in Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos-State.
If one single petrol tanker accident destroyed such amount of properties, you can imagine what 2 or more petrol tanker accidents could do to the society. This may probably explain to you why sharing the road with articulated vehicles or petrol tankers still remain worrisome in the heart of many people.
According to former Corps Marshall of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Mr. Osita Chidoka, road accident involving tanker drivers and road haulage trucks between January and March 2009 were 2,119 accidents and 301 deaths. The fact that this happened in 3 months is shocking.
With this report, it means on the average there were 23 accidents every day and not less than 3 lives were lost every day.
In addition, in 2015, the Corps Marshall of FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, at a stakeholder’s summit noted that in 2013, a total of 21,199 vehicles were involved in crashes in which 1, 495 were tankers or trailer related.
However, from the above given statistics by Corps Marshalls, it is clearly noticeable that the rising road accidents involving tanker drivers and haulage trucks and the recorded deaths from these accidents are increasingly worrisome.
Nevertheless, there are 3 reasons why high rate of accident involving petrol tankers and haulage trucks couple with high rate of deaths from these avoidable accidents remain worrisome to road users, however, here are the reasons:
- Near-absence of both commercial and government driving school for articulated vehicles and tanker drivers.
Training is very important for all haulage and tanker drivers, most especially those that haul hazardous materials that demand special handling skills. In addition, haulage trucks use compressed air brake system that requires additional training and basic knowledge of proper maintenance, otherwise it will be difficult for truckers to operate such vehicles properly. Why? It is because the manner of applying brake in air brake system is quite different from common hydraulic brake system. In fact, in some developed countries you are not allowed to drive any haulage truck that uses air pressure brake system without additional training and license to operate such vehicles. However, since there isn’t enough reputable training schools for tanker drivers and truckers hence, most of them end up being trained by their master (i.e. senior driver) who may also be clueless. Consequently, we have many truck drivers who do not know simple traffic rules and road signs.
- An unusual life-style of some truck drivers in Nigeria.
Personally, as an individual, I keep wondering about the lifestyle of some of the truck and haulage drivers. Some of them prefer to be on the road for more than 24 hours probably to make more money. In other words, when it is time for them to rest they hardly go to their houses to rest. They prefer to sleep on the road, buy food on the road and when they are sick they buy drugs from drug hawkers instead of going to hospital or a reputable pharmacy store to get good drugs. And at times they engaged in self medications.
In addition, some of these truckers see alcoholic drinks as a normal drink for refreshment; hence, you see them moving around with bottles of alcohol or alcohol sachet; painfully enough, they see it as normal lifestyle for them to drink alcohol before driving. What a misconception! Hence, you see many of them driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This is highly worrisome.
More so, high level of indiscipline coupled with wrong attitude towards public safety and trespass or infringement on the right of other motorists are also responsible for high rate of accident involving tanker and haulage drivers. All of these are undesirable lifestyle common among tanker and haulage drivers in Nigeria.
- Poor safety consciousness on the part of truck owners and truck drivers.
Every time I travel through Lagos-Ibadan expressway I always marvel at my observations: if you travel on the said expressway you will see quite a number of haulage truck accidents. At times you see trucks fall on the road like a piece of paper. At times you will see 2 or more trailers entering the bush probably as a result of brake failure or the driver sleeping behind the wheel. I wonder if all these trucks are properly maintained before they are used and I also wonder if all these truckers are safety conscious. Truly speaking, lack of safety consciousness among the truck and tanker drivers is highly worrisome.
Furthermore, it also baffles me when I see unlatch containers dangerously placed on an articulated vehicles, and the driver moves such vehicle freely on the road without being checked by the traffic regulatory agencies such as the Police, the FRSC and the State Vehicle Inspection Office. A significant number of road accidents on our roads are caused by unlatched containers that fell off the trucks.
For instance, on Christmas Day in 2013 a woman with her 4 children and 5 other people were killed when a container fell on a stationary commuter bus at Alaba Suru, in Lagos.
In addition, on May 21, 2014, the brake of a truck carrying unlatched container failed and the container fell on a moving bus at Toyota Bus-Stop on Oshodi-Apapa expressway, Lagos; no death was recorded from the incident but the drivers were seriously injured.
More so, on September 3, 2015, a truck carrying a container fell on Ojuelegba Bridge on Funsho Williams Avenue in Lagos and landed on a Sport Utility Vehicle, (SUV), 3 people died in this sad accident.
All the above given accidents probably would have been avoidable accidents if safety was fully considered by the truckers before they embarked on the journey. Really, if we all see road safety as our top priority and inevitable responsibility of all road users, then catalogue of accidents and deaths on our road transport system will definitely reduce. Without any element of doubt, poor safety attitude on the part of the truck drivers has increased the rate of accident on our roads.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that the number of registered vehicles operating on Nigerian roads is increasing day by day. It is also noted, that not less than 7 million registered vehicles are currently operating on Nigerian roads (Source: FRSC). This shows that the majority of Nigerians rely much more on road transport system for their mobility needs.
A senior rank officer in FRSC, Mr. Lukan U. Ukpi, stated that road transport accounted for over 75% of mobility needs in Nigeria. More so, lack of effective rail transport system and high cost of travel by air transport have increased much pressure on road transport system in Nigeria and as a result of this, hardly will you see a day growing old without occurrence of road accident on our national roads.
Since majority of Nigerians depend on road transportation for their mobility, hence, there is an urgent need to tackle the high rate of accident and death caused by haulage trucks and petroleum tankers. Government should encourage and establish more driving schools for trucks and haulage drivers; the unusual life style of truck drivers should also be checked; minimum safety standard and appropriate sanction for default must not be compromised. These among others are the ways to reduce catalogue of unwanted accidents and avoidable deaths caused by haulage trucks and tanker drivers on our roads, otherwise, sharing roads with them may be hellish.
My observation revealed that each time an accident occurs on Nigerian roads, fairly large number of people believe it is an act of God. Therefore, you see many of the motorists, most especially the commercial ones drive recklessly on the roads even when they are sharing the road with haulage trucks. It is even more obvious among commercial motorcycle operators who believe that no accident can occur except God allows it and that no matter how reckless they drive, it can never lead to an accident. This is an erroneous belief that can result to an untimely death.
As an individual, a high rate of road accidents in Nigeria is neither acceptable to me nor do I think it is acceptable to any Nigerian but oftentimes, when you see an accident occur on Nigerian roads, it will not take you a long time before you hear people giving their final conclusion on the whole matter by saying “It is an act of God”. They easily accept any accident that happens on Nigerian roads as an act of God. What a wrong conception!
So, one may wonder if God had pre-destined many Nigerians to die by road accidents on daily basis. In addition, one may even be tempted to ask why God would choose road accidents as a means to kill thousands of people in Nigeria. These, among others, are the likely questions that may readily come to mind when one ponders on the frequency of road accidents and the general belief or common conclusion of many people on road traffic accidents as “the act of God”
Accidents by circumstance are not God’s errors
At this point, it is essential that the writer is neither an Imam nor a pastor over a church. Therefore, I am not looking at this erroneous belief from a religious perspective rather I am looking at it from a professional point of view. In all honesty, most accidents are caused by human errors.
The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe reveals that most road accidents in Zimbabwe happen as a result of human errors. According to the statistics given (in Zimbabwe), 93.4% of all accidents recorded during 2014/2015 festive periods were due to human errors. Source: Chronicle.co.zw
Although, a man can be a victim of an accident by circumstances, this is a situation when a man who has no fault is involved in an accident caused by another man’s fault. Yet, this does not mean that the accident is an act of God, rather it is an avoidable occurrence caused by another man’s errors that makes an innocent man a victim by circumstance.
A Case Study
For instance, in 2015, an articulated vehicle carrying an unlatched container suddenly slipped off the truck and fell on a commercial bus at Illishan, Ogun State, Nigeria, killing all the12 passengers on board. However, 11 of the victims were said to be students of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) and the last person was the driver of the said bus. In addition, the truck driver took to his heels and the truck has no registered number plate, making it so difficult to trace the truck owner and the driver.
This particular accident was caused by a human error traceable to four set of people or agencies namely:
- The truck owner
- The truck driver
- The traffic regulatory agencies e.g. The Police, The FRSC, The NSCDC, The VIO, and
- The Government.
It was a high risk of negligence on the part of the truck owner and the truck driver to carry an unlatched container on public roads. It was also an error from the traffic regulatory agencies to allow an unlatched container to be carried on Nigerian roads without being checked or arresting the truck driver. The last but not the least is the responsibility of the government to make it a law forbidding any truck to carry an unlatched container on public roads. It should be realized that the failure to do and enforce this would amount to an error on the part of the government.
However, the said students and the driver were the victims of an accident by circumstance. It was not the fault of the students to board a commercial bus and it was not the fault of the bus driver to use the public road or share the road with a haulage truck, yet they died in the accident they never bargained for by circumstance. It is painful and quite unfortunate that they were not the cause of the accident that claimed their lives. Their untimely deaths were determined by the errors of four categories of people mentioned above; otherwise, it would have been an avoidable accident.
Another Case Study
In 2013, on Christmas day, to be precise, a woman and her 4 children and 5 other people were killed when a container fell on a stationary commuter bus at Alaba Suru, in Lagos. It was revealed that the truck driver was trying to avoid killing a mad man who slept on the road when the container it carried fell from the truck.
It is a pity that the woman, her 4 children and 5 other people were the victims of the accident by circumstance. The death that claimed their lives was not as a result of their own fault, it was the fault of 4 set of people mentioned above. The mad man that slept on the road only showcased a characteristic of a mad man because a normal human being can never sleep on the public road for any reason. So, the mad man might not share in the blame. Moreover, observation also reveals that some of the bus-stops on public roads are luxury apartments for lunatics to live. They make this important transport infrastructure their dwelling place without being checked, thereby making it so difficult for public use. However, the state or government environmental board should be blamed. It’s a menace or a threat to the public to see many mad men and women moving around the city and on the public roads. This is why the government environmental board or agency responsible for environmental sanitation should be blamed. It is expected of them to rise up to the task in reducing the menace constituted by lunatics on our public roads.
However, the attempt made by the truck driver to avoid killing the mad man on the road was a good one but it was a big error of negligence for the driver to carry an unlatched container on the public road. Therefore, it was a human error that caused the death of 10 innocent people; otherwise it would have been an avoidable accident.
Nonetheless, in transport profession, it is an erroneous assumption or belief to see the death of 11students, the driver , the 5 other people, the woman and her 4 children as the act of God rather it is the act of men known as “human error” which made innocent men victims by circumstance.
In the recent time, observations from individuals and professional bodies have indicated that travelling by air is safer than travelling by road. In Nigeria today, hardly can one find a day without the occurrence of a road accident. On the other hand, it is almost a strange thing to hear of a plane crash in air transport throughout a particular year except for some occasional ones. Do you know that thousands of airplanes travel both locally and globally every day? The Federal Aviation Administration reveals that there are 30,000 flights a day in the US. Yet you will hardly hear the news of a plane crash as we have it in road transport on daily basis. My question to those that hold this erroneous belief is ‘Why doesn’t God choose to kill many people on daily basis through plane crashes as we have in road transport?
According to Captain Dave Thomas “….commercial air travel is the safest mode in the world.” In all honesty, air transport is far safer than road transport. Why? It is because safety is not negotiable in air transport. This is the reason we don’t have frequent plane crashes on daily basis as we have it in road transport system. When there is a plane crash, the aviation industry tries to research the causes and makes efforts to prevent a future occurrence. Air safety cannot be overemphasized in the aviation industry.
If road safety is given due consideration by all road users without being forced, the frequency of road carnages on daily basis will be a day dream and this erroneous belief that makes some motorists, most especially, commercial motorists and motorcyclists to throw caution into the air while making use of the road will no longer seem to have assigned function in a road accident.
According to a traffic safety officer in Zimbabwe, Tatenda Chinoda, drivers’ errors are generally the major causes of road traffic accidents in Zimbabwe.
Therefore, the high rate of traffic accidents in Nigeria and other parts of the world is not the act of God but the act of men even if an accident occurs due to a mechanical problem, it’s still a human error caused a by mechanical engineer.