Road crashes claim over 40,000 lives annually — FRSC

ABOUT 40,000 people die annually from road crashes in Nigeria, according to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

The FRSC said road crashes are the leading cause of death and disability in the country.

The Corps Marshal of FRSC, Dauda Biu, disclosed this on Monday, May 15, at an event held to mark the 7th United Nations Global Road Safety Week in Abuja.

He added that about 1.3 million people are killed, while 50 million sustain injuries, in road crashes across the world each year.

According to him, there is no greater threat to people aged 5-29 years than road traffic crashes, as one in every four deaths occurs among pedestrians and cyclists.

“In Nigeria, over 40,000 persons die annually as a result of this avoidable scourge,” the Corps Marshall noted.

Biu explained that the United Nations developed a global plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 as part of its efforts to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50 per cent in 2030.

According to him, the 2023 edition of the event with the theme, ‘Sustainable Transport’, is slated for Monday to Sunday.

The FRSC is partnering with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) and United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety and Injury Prevention (UNDARSIP) to mark the event with various activities.

Biu further noted that taking action to ensure safe roads, vehicles and behaviours and improve emergency care is paramount, adding that road networks must be designed with the most-at-risk in mind.

“The key messages of this year’s event centre on the need for governments and their partners to rethink mobility.

“Ensuring safety must be at the core of efforts to re-imagine mobility, and thus road networks must be designed with the most-at-risk in mind.”

The FRSC boss further called on governments at all levels and partners to rethink mobility with a mindset to provide access to safe and affordable mobility systems for all.

He stressed the need for the government to make available accessible, resilient, low cost and sustainable mobility systems to create livable cities that would fulfil the needs of all.

Biu explained that the mobility system will ensure safety at all costs and also ensure that they feel safe walking and cycling, adding that this would further promote good health, sustainable cities and an equitable society.

He, however, appealed that the road network must be designed in consideration of vulnerable road users.

The ICIR on April 15 reported that 1,349 people were killed in road accidents between January 1 and April 12, 2023.

The Commission, in the report, said that 2,463 crashes occurred during the period, involving 3,965 vehicles conveying 16,102 people out of which 1,349 people were killed, while 7,744 got injured.

Absence of an effective road safety policy and strategy for the country and problems among relevant agencies compounded the road crash pandemic in Nigeria over the years, according to the report.

The ICIR reported that some major accidents had occurred in 2023.

In January 2023, a tragic motor accident occurred in the Illela Local Government Area of Sokoto, resulting in the loss of 18 lives and leaving 40 others injured. The accident occurred when a truck transporting passengers collided with a herd of cattle.

On Sunday, January 28, not less than 11 persons were burnt to death in an auto crash involving a commercial passenger bus and a truck in Ondo State.

According to the FRSC, the incident happened on Soka Bridge along the Benin-Ore expressway in the Odigbo Local Government Area of the state.

Also, two separate road accidents took place in Kebbi State, with the first occurring on March 26 in the Liba neighborhood near Gonan Rogo and the second on March 27 in the Bunza region. 

According to the Kebbi State Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), 35 lives were lost in these tragic collisions while 40 people were rescued and several passengers suffered deadly injuries.

In a bid to address the menace posed by the high number of road crashes in the country, the FRSC said it had started preparations to prosecute drivers involved in accidents that resulted in the loss of lives.

In line with the plan, the FRSC said it will prosecute drivers involved in the Liba and Bunza fatal crashes in Kebbi State earlier in the year.

The FRSC also revealed that it was collaborating with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to ensure compensation for road crash victims and prosecution of drivers and their employers whose activities on the road resulted in injury for road users.

The Commission described the partnership as a concerted effort to ensure that victims of road crashes are duly compensated through established legal processes.

Meanwhile, a security expert who spoke to The ICIR blamed some of the accidents on reckless driving and the poor state of Nigeria’s roads.

A security analyst with SBM Intelligence, a security outfit, Emeka Okoro, said although Nigeria’s road traffic fatality rate has reduced in recent years, it is still relatively high when compared to the reported WHO estimates.

According to him, driving on Nigeria’s roads can be risky.

“Indeed, apart from many of the highways littered with craters, driving at right is comparable to walking through a dark alley because of the lack of street lights. 

“The absence of proper road safety and poor management of roads remain the basis of road accidents which regularly occur at some flashpoints, such as sharp bends, potholes, and at bad sections of the highways.

“At such points, over-speeding drivers usually find it difficult to control their vehicles, resulting in fatal traffic accidents, especially at night. This, for me, is the fundamental reason for the high rate of deaths reported by the FRSC.”

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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