Road crashes claim 4,387 in 6 months – Report
No fewer than 4,387 persons have been killed in road crashes across the country from January 1 to June 30 this year.
An independent finding by Daily Trust from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) revealed that in the first quarter (Q1) of the year, 1,080 people died in the 2,056 crashes recorded.
Of the 13,415 people involved in the road crashes, 6,803 were injured while 5,879 persons were rescued without injuries.
However, in the second quarter of the year, the number of accidents rose to 2,635 while people involved in road crashes increased to 16,354, out of which 8,919 were rescued without injuries.
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The number of deaths also rose with 3,307 losing their lives while 7,305 were injured.
According to the data obtained from the FRSC, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has the highest record of deaths totalling 615 while Bayelsa State recorded the least number of deaths with only eight within the period under consideration.
Further breakdown of the figure according to geo-political zones shows that in the North West, Kano, Katsina and Jigawa recorded 159, 74 and 232 deaths respectively while Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto had 30, 40 and 36 deaths recorded.
In the North East, Adamawa recorded the highest fatalities with 174 followed by Gombe with 132 and Bauchi with 130. Taraba had 77 deaths, Borno recorded 35 and Yobe had 48.
In the North Central, Nasarawa recorded 299 deaths and was closely followed by Niger with 197 and Kogi with 169. Plateau recorded 133 deaths, Kwara 194 and Benue the least in the region with 74.
In the South South, Edo State led in the number of casualties with 61 deaths closely followed by Delta and Cross Rivers with 45 and 39, respectively. Subsequently, Rivers recorded 23 deaths, Akwa Ibom 22 and Bayelsa eight deaths.
In the South East, Ebonyi State topped the chart with 62 deaths recorded while Enugu, Anambra and Imo recorded 58, 40 and 31 deaths, respectively. Abia State recorded the least fatality in the region with 24 deaths.
Similarly, in the South West, Ogun State recorded the highest number of deaths with a total number of 423 persons, closely followed by Oyo with 255 and Ondo with 212. In the same vein, Lagos recorded 191 deaths while Osun and Ekiti had 141 and 42 deaths recorded, respectively.
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Ogun State Secretary of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Akingbade Tiwalade has blamed road crashes on what he called substandard tyres and vehicle spare parts.
Tiwalade expressed concern that some locally produced new tyres are not reliable in quality when compared to the imported fairly used ones popularly called “Tokunbo.”
He urged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the federal government to wade in and ensure tyres and all motor parts produced locally meet the standards.
“It’s shocking to note that Tokunbo tyres are more reliable compared to the locally produced ones which are even new tyres.
“New products should be the best anywhere in the world. Tyres are an important component of the vehicle. Once a tyre bursts, except with an experienced driver, the next thing is an accident,” Tiwalade said.
He added that potholes and bad roads also contribute to accidents and urged the government to fix them.
On the part of the union, he said “I know recent statistics showed that road accidents have reduced, but we are not resting on our oars. We organise orientation programmes for our drivers at all times on the need to be more professional behind the wheel and we will continue to do that.”
Private cars more involved in accidents – NURTW
Also speaking, the Organising Secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), FCT chapter, Mr Lawrence Fadipe, said the accident and fatality figures from the FRSC were not exclusive to commercial transporters.
He said the reports obtained from their members indicated that they recorded fewer accidents.
“The figures released by the FRSC are not for NURTW members alone but also include private vehicle owners and road users.
“I can tell you that the report we have from the states that accidents on the road are very minimal including the fatalities,” he said.
Fadipe, however, said that bad roads and the rainy season could be the reason for the increase in accidents on the roads.
“You know how bad Nigerian roads are; so that one is a major cause of accidents because drivers will want to dodge potholes and find themselves out of the road. Also during the rainy season, the roads can be slippery and people also struggling with sight don’t see well, so it can be a cause too,” he said. He, however, said the union had over time embarked on sensitisation and training for drivers to reduce accidents.
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The spokesman for the FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, identified speeding, dangerous driving, fatigue, use of fake, expired and worn-out tyres, wrongful overtaking, brake failure and other mechanical deficiencies as major causes of the accidents.
He said in the first quarter of the year alone, FRSC recorded 128,389 bookings for traffic offences while in the second quarter, 179,165 bookings were made.
“The Corps in recent times expanded the scope of its formations with the establishment of new Unit and Corridor Commands and for the first time, introduced Area Commands across the country. This huge step has had a very positive effect on the operations of the Corps as well as enhanced visibility and data collation.
“The corps now has more coverage of areas we couldn’t cover before and by implication, there is a boost in the corps’ capacity in data collation, which has led to recording more incidences of road traffic crashes.
“We expect that our presence in those hitherto covered areas will not only advance data collation but give a major boost to our existing effort towards entrenching a safer motoring environment and eradicating road traffic crashes on our roads,” he added.
Kazeem advised motorists to take precautionary measures during the rainy season to reduce the accident rate.
“They should ascertain that the windows and windshields are clean on the outside and the inside, and routinely check the headlights, brake lights, turn signals and tail lights.
“The windshield wiper and blades should also be checked for proper functioning. The lights should be on during the day and at night, whenever rain starts. Motorists are also advised to reduce their speed during this time and apply the common sense speed limit.”
Kazeem noted that because the road surface is often slippery during the rainy season, drivers should ensure that their tyres have adequate grip on the road.
“This is because the car tyres are amongst the most crucial elements and the only part that is in connection to the road. That is why the tyre traction is the grip of the vehicle on the road, and it is very essential.”
On efforts being made to sensitise road users, Kazeem said the Corps had maintained consistency in engaging all stakeholders, especially the transport unions.
He said, “We believe that the job of keeping the roads safe involves everyone. FRSC cannot do it alone. It is a collective responsibility that is why we engage stakeholders all round.
“The Corps has a tradition of embarking on massive sensitisation of the public. In most cases, the key target is the transport unions. Even at the moment, we are currently having a mega motor park engagement as directed by the Corps Marshal. We have visited Abaji, Kwali, Nyanya, Garki and Zuba within the FCT to speak more on the need to always comply with traffic regulations and the same is replicated all over the federation”.