The Zone 11 Sector of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) comprising Ondo, Oyo and Osun States has flagged off its year 2013 Road Safety end of year enlightenment campaign – tagged: ‘Ember Months’ in Akure,Ondo State with a call to all road users to cautiously observe the rules and regulations guiding the use of Nigerian highways.
At an elaborate ceremony which was held at the ultra- modern Ondo Motor Park in Akure, the Zonal Commanding Officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission – RS11, Lukas Sambo Kinya decried that there are too many deaths and injuries resulting from road traffic crashes in the country; adding that this should no longer be accepted as destiny, but the effect of poor attitude from motorists to the use of roads.
He disclosed from records that between January and August 2013 in the Zone 11area alone, six hundred and forty one road crashes occurred with five hundred and six persons killed and two thousand, four hundred and five injured.
He also mentioned that these road crashes are avoidable and preventable as most of them are as a result of human errors, due to faulty decisions and actions by drivers. He observed that the Zone 11 Command has an arduous and challenging task in crash reduction in the Zone and called for concerted efforts from stakeholders in partnership with the Commission towards realizing safe motoring environments.
He promised that his command will not relent in their current public sensitisation programme to make relevant stakeholders realise the consequences of speed violation and the benefits of using speed governors as effective measures to check avoidable crashes on the nation’s high ways.
Sambo Kinya stressed the need for all motorists to ensure that speed governors are effectively installed in their vehicles to restrain drivers from violating speed limits. He noted that the device would make it impossible for drivers to go beyond speed limits.
Other benefits derivable from the use of the device on vehicles, according to him are its influence on fuel consumption and enabling the driver to maneuver in event of crash. He indicated that it regulates speed and prolongs the life of vehicles; saying it generally aids other safety devices to function optionally in time of need.
He expressed hope that at the end of the 2013 enlightenment campaign, road users would imbibe good driving culture by changing their attitudes to driving and making roads safer and lives fuller; thus contributing positively to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
The Zonal Commanding Officer appealed to the Government, accomplished persons, organisations and companies to partner with the Federal Road Safety Corps in the provision of operational equipment – including patrol vehicles for effective monitoring of the zone, heavy duty tow trucks for removal of obstruction and ambulances for prompt attention to road traffic crashes.
The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission in Ondo State who was represented by Sunday Ajayi said that many people have erroneously believed that driving skills and knowledge about driving are all that is needed to be safe on the roads. She noted that attitudes towards road environments and driving have great impact on driving behaviour. He stressed from studies that individuals with high propensity for driving behavior which are associated with increased risk of road traffic crashes are most prone to negative attitudes towards traffic safety.
According to him, change in drivers’ negative and distorted opinions about traffic enforcement, speed limits and alcohol exclusion on roads, amongst others would improve compliance to road traffic rules and regulations.
She explained that the theme of this year’s campaign – “Attitude: The Change we Need on our Roads” was carefully selected bearing in mind that most of the road accidents recorded in recent times could have been avoided with change in the attitude of drivers.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Dare Aragbaye posited that the responsibility of ensuring safety on Nigerian highways is the concern of all Nigerians which should not be left to the government alone. According to him, both the Federal and State Governments are complementing each other, in order to ensure that good roads are put in place to avoid accidents resulting from bad roads across the country.
He stressed the need for good road networks and efficient road signs as part of measures to curb incessant road crashes. Adding, so many innocent lives have been claimed in the country. Olusegun Mimiko said that his administration has taken deliberate steps to take commercial drivers in Ondo State away from their old and crooked ways of operation to a complete modern system. He ascribed the reason for the building of an ultra modern motor park in Akure to an attempt to replicate what exists in major cities across the State.
The Governor pointed out that modern facilities comparable to world class motor parks across the world would be available in the modern Akure Motor Park to persuade commercial vehicle drivers in the state that they need to be disciplined.
Mimiko urged the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to get involved in the vanguard for safety on Nigerian roads by strictly obeying traffic rules and regulations, in order to ensure accident-free journeys in Nigeria. He charged leaders of the Union to always educate their members on the best ways of using roads and to be cautious in giving support to members who are penalised by Law Enforcement Agencies for traffic offences.
Also in his remarks, the Trustee of NURTW in Ondo State, Oni Adebisi said that the Union has been orientating its members in the State on safe driving on the roads and need to take care in dealing with passengers. According to him, road accidents have drastically reduced in Ondo State due to efforts of the Union. He promised not relent in their efforts towards accident-free ‘ember months’ in the State.
The Trustee of the Union called on the Federal and State Governments to give maximum attention to the construction and rehabilitation of roads in their jurisdictions. This, he said will ensure smooth driving on Nigerian roads and bring optimal calm to travellers plying the roads.
He lauded the Government of Ondo State for its support to the Union and pointed to the release of over four hundred vehicles to them as gesture towards providing jobs for the Union’s members across the State.