By: ROTIMI ASHER
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Federal Road Safety Commission has attributed 50.8% of road accidents experienced across Nigeria this year to over-speeding. This submission was made by Mr. Hygenus Omeje, Lagos State Sector Commander of the FRSC, at the Mobil TRACCON Africa event held last week Wednesday at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to Omeje, the commission now has a policy in place, which ensures that all commercial trucks install speed limit device to avoid truck and tankers accidents.
“Some fleet operators have already implemented it,” he said, adding that once the speed limiter is properly installed, a driver cannot go beyond the speed limit.
He said, at the moment, FRSC is concentrating on commercial fleet operators after which it would be the turn of private vehicle owners to install the device.
“Learning experience has shown that in Kenya and Zambia, where speed limiters are in use, National health expenditure on road accidents injuries reduced,” Omeje noted, adding that out of the top ten countries in the world where road transport crashes were recorded as a result of speeding, Nigeria is no 10 after China and India.
“Crashes do not just happen, they are caused. Every crash on Nigeria roads is avoidable and predictable. Some may argue that what cause accident on our roads is the issue of bad roads, but I disagree. We have noticed that crashes between Maroko and Ajah/Epe, when the road became good were caused by speeding. They drink, they drive and they crashed”.
Speaking further, Omege said FRSC decided to stop issuing fine to drunk drivers, because, according to him, fine is no longer serving as deterrent. He said what the commission plans to adopt is breathalizing drunk drivers, after which any driver found to have above legal alcohol limit inside his or her blood shall be prosecuted.
“Good thing about the breathalyzer is its ability to store and print,” he explained. “We are going to resort to prosecuting, instead of fines.”
The FRSC sector commander, however, admitted that so far, the enforcement of traffic laws on the part of FRSC has not been strong enough, a situation he attributed to shortage of personnel.