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Reckless driving gets more reckless

Many of the violent deaths today are as a result of reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs among other intoxicants.…

Many of the violent deaths today are as a result of reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs among other intoxicants. Among such recklessness is the turning of roads into race tracks as in Formula 1 Grand Prix, involving both vehicles and motorcycles. Reckless driving continues to be a major problem in Abuja as the recent data, according to Mr. Abdullahi of the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) revealed. “Fatalities connected to reckless driving which is increasing daily is responsible for about 45 per cent of traffic fatalities in the capital city.”

Another chronic case of recklessness is the way motorists deliberately beat traffic lights. “It happens like a flash,” said Georgina Adams. “The red light had come on just before I got to the frontline when I saw the car behind overtake trying to beat the light and bam!, he brought down the light pole and ran into another vehicle that had the right of way, crashed the entire side of the other car and his own bumper.”

Around the Berger Junction last week, there were two fatal accidents which occurred three days apart. “It is a common fact that the mini bus transport companies are in drivers of habit of driving recklessly and trying to outrun one another on the highway; forgetting that they are conveying commuters and that there are other road users,” said Mr. Tony Akpan,  confirming that in the bid to outwit one another, avoidable automobile accidents will occur. He added that: “transport companies need to screen drivers before offering them jobs.”

Others like Mr Dennis Ogochuwkwu are of the opinion that it is just out of sheer negligence and ignorance that these reckless driving occurs. “The fatality of accidents in Lagos are not as much as in Abuja,” he said, adding that, “I have a friend who feels that anytime he comes to Abuja, he is as free as air because have, there rae so many wide and empty roads and that he can’t find this kind of empty roads in Lagos”. He encourages the Road Safety to do more in this regard.

Recently, the FCT Administration set up a task force to arrest reckless drivers as a result of the sharp increase in accidents in the city, but the question people are asking is, how effective will this be as top government officials are equally guilty of this offence. “I do not think that it can work as these people themselves are the ones who break the rules. When they are on the streets, they harass people and beat traffic not minding other road users. They are the ones to put other road users through, but because they lack patience, they always want to bulldoze their way all the time,” said Aliyu Muhammed.

Driving schools which should aid inculcate a good driving culture have been accused of producing unqualified drivers. “Most of these driving schools do not teach the basic road rules as we found out that most of the drivers we have on the streets now are not competent enough to even know that the traffic rule says you give way to traffic on your left, but these days, the reverse is the case and no one seems to be bothered about this disturbing trend,” Ibrahim Abdul said.

Mr. Emmanuel Ihechere, Public Education Officer of the FRSC said “reckless driving results in dangerous driving and fatal accidents. These pose a danger not only to the driver but commuters and other road users. The primary measure we are taking to correct reckless driving is law enforcement and the arrest of defaulters. The vehicles are impounded while, they are fined N50,000 and then put through a one or two-week training (depending on the magnitude of the offence) and the implications of their actions.”

 “Our secondary measures,” he continued, “including public enlightenment through the media, campaigns, lectures and post bills.”

On the issue of driving schools and their effectiveness to teach proper road use, he asked, “how many drivers actually went to driving schools, let alone the right ones? Many driving schools do not have the appropriate curricular equivalent to that of the FRSC which guides on what and how to teach people how to drive and proper road use.

“We have collected data on existing driving schools. By the end of the year, those who have not met the set standards will either merge with others or be phased out completely so that every driving school that operates will be a standard one.”

“Reckless driving,” he concluded, “is not necessarily the major cause of most road accidents. Over speeding and wrong overtaking are major contributors to many fatal accidents on our roads though the consequences of reckless driving are higher than other causes.”