In this report, ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE chronicles how the Nigerian authorities initiated a technology called Speed Limiter to curb accidents on the roads, yet controversies surround the novel initiative, leading to low patronage of the device by motor users
A federal agency mandated to check activities of road users in Nigeria, the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, was worried over the years by the alarming proportion of road accident in the country.
Correspondingly, reports by the FRSC and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), stated, “There were 12,077 road accidents of which 5,400 persons died in 2015. In 2016, there were 11,363 crashes with 5,053 deaths; and in 2017, 10,026 crashes and 5,049 deaths.”
Measures to curb further occurrence was the agency’s headache, such as over speeding by motor users, was nightmarish in the FRSC’s computation. The FRSC was also not pleased with commercial and private car owners using mobile phone while driving. It later geared to curb accidents on the Nigerian roads with speed limit device installation.
Many Nigerians saw the introduction of speed limiter as a ploy to defraud motorists, an aspersion the FRSC rebuffed with its strength. The Corps Marshal and Chief Executive Officer of Federal Road safety Corps, FRSC, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi told journalists during the introduction of the device in 2016, saying, “The introduction of the speed limiters was necessitated by our findings bordering on major factors responsible for road traffic crashes in Nigeria.”
Through Bisi Kazeem Kazeem, Head, Media Relations and Strategy, FRSC, the agency on September 17, 2016, also outlined the following incidents as prompters to speed limiter introduction:
- Between 2007 and June 2010, a total of 4,017 Tankers/Trailers crashes were recorded on Nigerian roads with a yearly average of 1,148 cases and monthly average of 96 crashes 607 Tankers/Trailers crashes were recorded in 2007, the figures rose to 1,229 in 2008, which is 102.47% increase.
- In 2009, the crash records reduced by 1.30 % to 1,213 and as at June 2010, 968 crashes had so far been recorded for the year, which showed that the rate of crashes involving Tankers and Trailers was on the increase. This is further evident in the monthly crash average of 51 in 2007, 102 in 2008, 101 in 2009 and as at June in 2010, 161 crashes occurred on average monthly basis.
- The data analysis also revealed that on daily average basis 1.66 crashes occurred in 2007. This rose to 3.37 in 2008, 3.32 crashes in 2009 and in 2010, 5.31Tanker/Trailer crashes occurred on Nigerian roads. The same process was carried out on buses and in a nutshell, our findings indicated that these category of vehicles accounted for 60% road crashes between 2007 and 2010 with attendant fatalities and monumental negative impact on the GDP.
Speed limiter concerns
After introducing the speed limiter to commercial vehicles on October 1 2016 and the implementation of agreement with the fitting began on February 1, 2017, with expressed trucks; on Tuesday, January 15 2019, the FRSC made known its plan to introduce the device on private vehicles.
The FRSC Unit Commander in Ore, Ondo State, Mr Philip Ozonnandi told newsmen that private car owners that failed to comply with the directive might have their cars confiscated.
According to the FRSC data, “There are about 12 million vehicles on Nigerian road including private and commercial vehicles, not all will use speed limiting device.
“The focus now is on commercial vehicles which include mini buses, luxury buses, trailers trucks etc excluding taxis and buses in urban areas.
“If we can check the over-speeding of commercial vehicles which account for 65 per cent of vehicles on the highways, we would save many lives.”
However, Dr. Oyeyemi’s voice was all over the media championing the use of speed limiter, which he said was to save lives on the highways.
On September 24, 2016, he evaluated the successes made by the FRSC in the preceding two years and was happy that campaign for motorists to know the expiry date of their tyre achieved its purpose.
“Drivers now know that their tyres expire,’ he said.
Capital project development framework
On Thursday, August 3, 2017, the Federal Government (FG) established a capital project development framework to foster and increase public-private partnerships to deliver critical road projects in the country, a statement issued in Abuja by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, revealed.
According to the statement:
- The Nigeria Road Safety Strategy, NRSS, is in line with the vision of United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety: 2011 – 2020 as resolved by United Nations General Assembly in 2010, which is to reduce the rate of road traffic accidents and fatalities by 50% by the year 2020.
- The vision of the NRSS was borne out of the desire by relevant stakeholders to stem the menace of road traffic accidents and the consequent loss of lives and destruction of property on highways.
- To achieve this goal, member States are required to forge a sustainable platform for a nationally coordinated response involving relevant stakeholders, including government, non-governmental organizations; communities, religious and traditional institutions as well as the Media.
- It is in fulfillment of this that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), working closely with the then National Planning Commission and other stakeholders took up the responsibility to articulate the NRSS document in 2010 with elaborate measures to secure active participation and constructive inputs from relevant stakeholders across board.
Oyeyemi believed that “integrated transportation” would be better if focused on to help alleviate pressure on road users.
He was of the view that in 2013 and 2015, violation of speed limit saw to not fewer than 50.8% of road crashes in Nigeria. When the FRSC could not bear with the unremitting crashes on the Nigerian roads, Oyeyemi said that the agency had to meet with de crème de la crème in the transport industry, fleet sector and the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), to harness ways to bring out speed limiters that would sooth the country.
Oyeyemi told some editors of a national newspaper as follows:
- Regulation 152 Sub Section (4) of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 states that a person cannot drive a vehicle that is not fitted with speed limiter on any public road.
- In the same vein, Section 10 Sub Section (3m) of the FRSC Establishment Act 2007 also empowers the FRSC to make the use of speed limit device mandatory on all vehicles.
- For avoidance of doubt, the speed limiter initiative is in partial fulfillment of the UN decade of action on road safety for which Nigeria is a signatory.
- Similarly, speed limit violation has remained a major global issue in our quest to engender sound road culture.
- It is also worrisome to recall that the issue of speed has been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a key risk factor in road traffic injuries, influencing both the risk of a crash as well as the severity of the injuries that result from crashes.
- Interestingly, this interaction yielded some positives with SON endorsement of the standard specifications for speed limiters in 2014 and we took further steps to secure the endorsement of the stakeholders for nationwide advocacy drive which was followed with a time-line for a nationwide enforcement.
Potentials of speed limiter
The FRSC was interested in regulatory practices and enforcement of the speed limiter, said officials; and was non-profit-making agency and never manufactured speed limiter nor had the intention of manufacturing speed limiters in the future.
However, the agency had a fixed price of N36,000 for the installation of speed limiter in a commercial vehicle.
“It is also important to note that apart from the safety benefit, the implementation of the programme has job creation potentials as the approved vendors had already trained over 200 technicians who had commenced installation of the limiters in vehicles. This figure is expected to increase when the second phase commences,” said the 2016 source.
After introducing speed limiter
Not sleeping on its oars in making sure that the Nigerian roads are safe, the FRSC and Speed Limiter Vendors Association, on November 16 2018, co-launched ember safety campaign held at Area 1 Roundabout, Abuja.
Checks revealed that the joint sensitization was to educate motorists to be mindful of the road and also instill consciousness in commercial drivers to install speed limit devices in their vehicles.
Chairman of the Association of Speed Limiter Vendors of Nigeria, ASLON, Mr. Oyegoke Adekunle Alani, showed apprehension that upon the crusades that were carried out by the authorities especially the FRSC, commercial drivers were lackadaisical to speed limit devices.
Adekunle regretted what he said was “low patronage of the speed limiter by drivers” and this had elicited volume of road accidents in the country.
While the introduction price of the device was N36,000, Adekunle said that the once expensive device had demurred to N25,000, yet patronage was very sketchy. He was of the view that motor users should embrace the technology as it remained effective in curtailing accidents on the Nigerian roads.
But on Friday, May 19, 2017, the Ore Unit Commander of the corps in Ore, Ondo State, Mr Umoru Abdullahi said that most of the commercial vehicles plying the Benin-Ore expressway had installed the device.
He told newsmen, “Well, I can say that most of the motorists plying the Benin-Ore expressway have complied with the speed limiting device.
“We are working assiduously to ensure that there is total compliance with the device.
“I am imploring motorists to embrace the speed limit device, to reduce casualties on the highways.”
Notwithstanding, a media mogul and Publisher of Champion Newspaper, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu in June 2019, called on the authorities to enshrine road safety education in basic schools in the country.
Iwuanyanwu, the Founder of Iwuanyanwu National Ambulance, speaking through the National Coordinator of the Foundation, Mr Chinedu Nsofor, advocated for such in Abuja, after the foundation, was awarded with Transportation and Logistics Excellence Award, as the Best NGO in Emergency Response, by the Nigerian Transportation Commissioners Forum.
Then again, Oyeyemi had in 2017 said that upon the country had recorded progress through the initiative of the government to institute the FRSC in 1988, the success it had recorded could have been more if a national road safety strategy was developed.
Odimegwu Onwumere is a Port Harcourt-based Poet and Writer. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org
- SOURCE: OoReporters
The expressions in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of ooreporters.com.
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