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My phobia for trucks and trailers

It was in the course of the campaign that I  flipped through the Corps report on road traffic crashes involving tankers and trailers in the…

It was in the course of the campaign that I  flipped through the Corps report on road traffic crashes involving tankers and trailers in the country between 2007-June 2010 in search of information for the campaign whose theme is; TRUCK OVER SPEEDING. While checking through the report, I suddenly felt uncomfortable about the revelations contained in the report  for several reasons: First was because of the number of crashes involved and deaths caused by both commercial vehicles and trucks; the die-hard tendencies of most drivers of smaller vehicle who often compete against heavier vehicles; the fact that  the report covers a period  when the road network was a bigger problem because of the state of disrepair unlike now when government has done a tremendous work by fixing our roads across the country; the fact that the Corps has expressed  worry over increased  speed related crashes in the face of improved road infrastructure which stands at over 65percent .In his address at the flag-off Osita Chidoka, the FRSC boss captures it thus’’…as new roads are being constructed and old ones rehabilitated ..a new threat to road safety has come up through speed limit violation.
Speed limit violation and resultant crashes  and deaths are now a source of concern to all road users because of the pervasiveness of speed violation by drivers who are always thrilled by the smoothness of the road…’’He recalled the 2012 crash data which showed that out of 6269 crashes involving 10,042 vehicles in Nigeria 4260 were killed and 20,757 people injured with speed violation accounting for the highest causative factor of 35percent followed by loss of control and dangerous driving at 17percent.Within the same year, trucks and trailers accounted for 22percent of the total vehicles involved in the crashes and 17percent so far as at 30november this year.
The involvement of trucks and the number of deaths explains my worry for travellers this December. Although the Corps has deployed personnel and logistics to ease the pain of travellers and reduce crashes, I still have my worry because of one factor that has remained the focus of this column in the last few years since its debut-irresponsible driving especially during the festive season. Let me now share with you some of the details contained in the report on trucks and trailers. Before I do so  let me inform you to that our findings shows that commercial vehicles account for 30percent of crashes and 40percent of deaths while trucks and trailers account for 30percent of crashes and 42percent deaths. This explains why the Corps is focusing  the speed limiting device enforcement on commercial vehicles with the firm belief that cutting down crashes involving commercial vehicles and trucks will move the Corps closer to its set goals of truly making our roads safer than it is today and aligning the countries roads among the safest 20 in the world.
Let us go back to the report I referred to earlier .Details of that report,  reveals that 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,while the figures rose to 1,129 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.
In terms of fatalities, the report for the same period shows that 4,076 persons were killed in the crashes involving tankers and trailers. In 2007, the crashes led to the death of 805 persons. It rose to 1,221 in 2008 (51.68% increase), and 1,085 representing 11.14% reduction in 2009, and as at June 2010, 965 persons were killed. On the average 97.05 persons were killed monthly in crashes involving Tankers and Trailers between 2007 and June 2010.
The report further shows, that a total 12,994 persons were injured in tanker/trailer crashes with a monthly and daily average of 309.38 and 10.16 respectively. The record also revealed that 976 vehicles were involved in crashes in 2007 while the record for 2008 stood at 1,655, 1,767 in 2009 and 1,427 between January to June of 2010.
Within the period of this report, Dangerous Driving accounted for the highest cause of crashes with 1,036 representing 26.41% followed by speed violation which accounted for 907 cases representing 23.08%. If we contrast this report with the situation today, you will understand my fear and my worry. Between 2007 and 2010, Speed Violation took the second place despite the state of our road infrastructure which needed urgent attention. Today, the roads are getting better and this explains why the Federal Ministry of Works is getting more kudos than knocks. Ironically, the table has turned with Speed now accounting for over 65% of crashes in the last one year while dangerous driving and loss of control follow suit. All of these crashes bother on bad driving which must be checked this December. Smaller vehicle drivers must fight the urge to compete with heavy duty vehicles and must learn to drive defensively especially with respect to keeping safe distance.

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