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.