By Phrank Shaibu
I have watched and read with enormous interest the ongoing debate on the introduction of speed limiters for commercial drivers in Nigeria and I must confess that the augments both for and against its implementation are clear hints that Nigeria’s road safety is still travelling on a long route of seeming undefined destination.
On the part of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, it is very easy to notice a mixed basket of unconvincing logic. First, is that its claim that about fifty percent of road crashes are caused by speeding beyond limits is mere guess work. Nigeria has no such facility to factually state what caused a road crash especially when it relates to driving too fast because we have no speed monitors. In fact, that ought to be the vital reason why the issue of speed limiters is even on the table. Attributing a chunk of road crashes to over speeding is far from the truth and I consider it as a means of trying to bully Nigerians into endorsing the use of speed limiters. If the FRSC statistics would be considered accurate, then what it means is that our roads are now very good and well illuminated; drivers now drive very well; people no longer drink and drive; convoy drivers of most political office holders are no longer tailgating and driving oppressively; the vehicle conditions are perfect; drivers do not get fatigued anymore and we now have more caring pedestrians. I admit that human factor can be associated with about fifty percent of why road crashes occur, but definitely not all are due to speeding above limits. In any case, inaccurate statistics should not be an issue because even if speeding too fast causes ten percent of road deaths, it deserves prompt national attention because one preventable road death is unnecessary.
In an earlier piece titled, ‘Nigeria’s FRSC and her penurious N58m media budget,’ which was well circulated in the media’, I had brought to the fore that until the FRSC, Nigeria’s road safety regulating agency is able to garner the required public support for its activities, safe road use in Nigeria will continue to exist like an orphan. Infact, the recent action by the House of Representatives relating to halting of the implementation of speed limiters, a device meant to curb the bad road culture of driving too fast, readily exemplifies my position. Candidly put, after reading the arguments which led the House of Representatives to suspend the implementation of speed limiters, the first thought that rushed to my mind was that if not for some bogus complacency on the part of the FRSC and the so called accredited vendors of the speed limiters, this initiative would have been a laudable project for saving many road deaths.
Specifically, I have read views of persons that have thrust the blame of the non approval of speed limiter to the doorsteps of Rep. Phillip Shaibu (APC-Edo) and Rep. Onyemaechi Mrakpor (PDP-Delta) because they championed the objection on the implementation. Unfortunately, these seeming advocates of speed limiter have not done justice to their matter as they have failed to advance any credible or superior logic on why speed control is important and can be achieved through the speed limiter initiative. Indeed, this is why one may be tempted to consider the action of the honourable members as triumph of rationality and responsibility over complacency. Let me state herein that in a contentious matter where information is deficient or is lacking, even the best judge cannot manufacture evidence rather he will be compelled to rely on the facts before him to pass judgement. That actually was what happened recently at the Federal House of Representatives when its honourable members conducted their task as true representatives of the Nigerian people by asking the FRSC’s management to stay action until it truly justifies why such a policy should not be cancelled.
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