Nigerian “Road kill” Epidemic calls for tougher measures

“The third Sunday of November would be the annual day of remembrance for victims of road traffic accidents and their families”, according to a United Nations declaration in 2005.

The Nigerian Federal Road Safety Commission released some stats on road traffic accidents in the country (don’t ask me how they come up with the numbers) to mark the day:

4,944 Nigerians were killed in 9,114 road accidents, while 17,390 were injured in 2006.

The Corp Marshall went on and dropped a bombshell; he gave a conservative estimate of 400 die daily on Nigerian roads!

Do the math: 400 deaths multiplied by 365 days. This is 146,000 deaths per year!!!

This means one in every 1,000 Nigerians die daily from preventable accidents on our roads.

If we give the Corp Marshall the benefit of doubt and admit this number as accurate, this is an epidemic of huge proportion. If this many die then how many are injured?

I can’t even wrap my mind round the “costs” (economic, social and emotional) associated with each of those accident events.

What nearly gave me a coronary was the passiveness with which the data was presented. The speakers highlighted the need to “pay attention”, “obey traffic rules”, and even pray. According to the Minster for Communication (who was present or represented at the occasion) motorist should “pray while travelling…not only for ourselves but also for other road users.”

I have no objections to prayers, but I can’t just stand when we – Nigerian humans, due to our collective mental laxity and social and moral unconsciousness, simply shift our responsibilities unto the Divine one. Nuts!!!

How can this epidemic be dealt with beyond merely obeying traffic laws and praying?

Some thoughts:

  • How about looking at the circumstances surrounding these accidents and find ways to minimize reoccurrences?
  • How about making commercial vehicles involved in accidents liable for damages caused? Reparation to victims is in order!
  • How about restricting the movement of articulated trucks (trailers and heavy trucks) to specific hours when there are fewer vehicles on the road?
  • How about fixing the darn roads, if it means paying tolls and privatizing, so be it. Just fix the darn roads!!!

The list is endless, and what is most required is having the national assembly pass into laws, more bills that deter reckless driving on the road.

We need to tighten the noose a bit and be more proactive; that is how epidemics are contained. 400 deaths per day is not acceptable!

Originally published on Grandiose Parlor by Imnakoya as “400 Nigerians Die from Road Accident Daily?“

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