Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state has flagged off ember month’s campaign against road traffic crashes in Enugu state.
The flag off coincided with the world day for the commemoration of victims of road traffic accidents.
Ember months usually witness heavy vehicular movement as people move to different parts of the country in preparation for Christmas and New Year celebrations.
In view of the anticipated heavy traffic which often leads to road accidents, the FRSC organised a sensitisation campaign with the theme “road safety is a state of mind, road traffic crash is an absence of mind, stay alert, stay alive”.
Governor Ugwuanyi who was represented by the commissioner for transport, Mathias Ekweremadu charged road users to be conscious while driving, especially in festive season.
Ugwuanyi who attributed major cause of accident to human error, said road crashes can be avoided if motorists take needed precautions.
Earlier in a welcome address, the sector commander, Enugu sector command of the FRSC, Kalu Ogbonnaya urged motorists to shun over-speeding, wrongful overtaking, impatience, recklessness as well as dangerous driving and other bad attitudes capable of jeopardizing safety of lives on the highways.
While assuring of the corps preparedness to seamless and uninterrupted movement in the ember months, Kalu said the command will promptly respond to emergencies and strictly enforce traffic rules.
“Recent records show a decline in road crashes in Nigeria as enabled by commitment of the corps with support of the government and stakeholders alike, no fewer than 2,598 Nigerians died in road crashes between October 2018 and March 2019, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
“The breakdown also showed that 1, 306 Nigerians died in road crashes in the fourth quarter of 2018 while 1, 292 people died in the quarter of first quarter of 2019. It may interest you to know that the above data attributed the major cause of road crashes in the first quarter to speed violation as it counted for 50.81 percent of the total road crashes reported.
“Tyre burst and dangerous driving followed closely as they both accounted for 8.26 percent and 8.42 percent respectively of the total number of road crashes recorded. The report said that in the fourth quarter of 2018 also, speed limit violation was the major cause of Road Crashes and accounted for 45.05 percent of the total of 15,815 Nigerians sustained various degrees of injuries in road crashes during the six months.
“A few days from now, we expect a heavy vehicular movement on our roads as people will be moving to different parts of the country in preparation for Christmas and New Year festivities. These anticipated heavy vehicular movements will lead to Road Traffic Crashes if care is not taken.
“To ensure the safety of all and sundry therefore, this rally is organized to caution our drivers and other road users on the need to be safety conscious not only at this time but beyond the festival period. The theme; Road safety is a state of mind, Road Traffic Crash is an Absence of mind, Stay Alert Stay Alive’ focuses on the human factor which has been identified as the major cause of Road Traffic crashes on our Roads. It also shows that for all road users to arrive at their destinations safely, the need to drive safe is not negotiable
“As it has been reported overtime, Road Traffic Crashes are caused by three major factors which; Human (Driver), Mechanical (Vehicle) and Environment (Road/Weather). But human factor takes 90% of whatever happens on the road. For instance, it is the driver that determines the speed at which a vehicle moves both in bad roads and poor driving conditions. He is in a better position to determine the overall condition of the vehicle.
“It is he who travels on the road daily and therefore in position to obey traffic rules and regulations that have been put in place for his safety and that of his passengers. But unfortunately, most of our drivers through their actions and inaction have been the cause of the major crises on the Nigerian highways.
“As we prepare for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, we must recognize the fact that only the living celebrates and therefore avoid those things that can undermine our own safety. We must shun over speed, wrongful overtaking, impatience, lane indiscipline, recklessness, dangerous driving and other attitudes capable of jeopardizing our safety on the highways.
“To ensure seamless and uninterrupted movement along the corridor during the 2019 ember month campaign, the command will be more visible on the roads to promptly respond to emergencies and to enforce traffic rules.
“The command will also work in synergy with the Nigerian police, Nigerian security and civil defense corps, Enugu state traffic management agency and other relevant sister agencies to ensure the highways are safe for all and sundry.
In a message to the occasion, the Zonal Commander Rs. 9 of the FRSC, the assistant corps marshal Osas Osadebamwem represented by the deputy corps commander, Joyce Alexander said traffic crashes have grave economic implications and urged motorists to always be mindful of their safety and loved ones.
Commissioner of police, Enugu state, Ahmad Abdurahman represented by chief superintendent of police, Jibril Mohammed who spoke on behalf of sister security agencies assured of continued partnership with the FRSC to keep the roads safe for motorists and other road users.
Representative of the Nigerian union of road transport workers, Collins Ogom, Chairman, Holy Ghost Park, Gregory Ikwueze commended the FRSC for the campaign and promised to sensitise their members.
The programme attracted representatives of the Nigerian army, Nigerian security and Civil defence corps, state security services, Nigerian Air-force, Nigeria immigration service, Nigerian Correctional Centre, Nigerian police force and the vehicle inspection office.