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Enforcing new speed limit policy on highway

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has said it will implement a new speed-limit policy on commercial vehicles on October 1, 2016. By this, commercial…

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has said it will implement a new speed-limit policy on commercial vehicles on October 1, 2016. By this, commercial vehicles are required to install electronic regulators with preset speed limit in their vehicles. The device would alert them if they exceed the 100 kilometres per hour speed permissible on our highways.
Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal, while making the announcement in Abuja on Wednesday, August 10, 2016, said “We already have the portal that we will use to monitor this. We don’t need to pursue any vehicle.  We will just stop you the way we verify licenses.” He added that vehicle owners and drivers who fail to comply may have their vehicles impounded. In addition, such violators of the speed limit policy would be prosecuted.
Speed is defined as the rate of change of distance per unit time, and has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a key risk factor in road traffic crashes, influencing both the risk of a crash as well as the severity of the injuries that result from crashes.  Statistics indicate that speed-induced road traffic crashes accounted for 50.8 percent of reported road traffic crashes and that commercial vehicles accounted for 30 percent and about 40 percent of fatalities. It is, therefore, projected that if the speed limit enforcement succeeds, crashes would reduce by 30 percent, thus justifying FRSC’s introduction of the devices on commercial vehicles.
We note that in Nigeria, most accidents are caused by over-speeding, reckless driving, drunkenness and careless overtaking of other vehicles at a high speed. A device that can prevent excessive speed will be a positive development in our attempt to curtail mishaps on our highways. 
There are fears, however, that the speed limiter project is another revenue strategy by the FRSC at the expense of motorists. The suspicion is based on previous experiences with FRSC which compelled motorists to cough out various sums of money to comply with innovations that added little or no value to road safety.
From all indications, the role of the FRSC in how the devices will be purchased is limited, as there are vendors of the electronic device who have been screened and accredited by the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON). However, the cost is still a contentious issue, as the rate of N36,000 per speed limiter is apparently  too high, considering the large numbers of commercial vehicles on Nigerian roads.
It is also feared that speed limiter would endanger the lives of drivers and motorists if they are exposed to armed robbery, car snatchers, hired killers and kidnappers. However, as a first step in reducing accidents on our highway, we support the scheme and encourage all commercial vehicle owners to install the device on their vehicles.
We would enjoin the FRSC to complement the enforcement of this policy with a vigorous campaign against over-speeding, so that motorists, whether commercial or private, could imbibe the culture. These efforts should be combined with public awareness on the advantages of using seat belts, helmets, not being drunk while driving, and other risks.
The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the agency vested with the task of controlling the quality of products in Nigeria, should ensure that fake speed limiters are not imported. If this is not done, motorists would be exposed to fraudsters who could import fake devices or improvise limiters with a short lifespan, thereby exposing drivers to accidents and/or the violation of the speed limit law.
The objective of the speed limiter is to prevent accidents and loss of lives on our highways. The FRSC should not use it as an excuse to extort motorists, as has been noticed with several innovations by those who enforce the law on our roads.

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