Effective road safety management requires accurate data to define problems, identify risks, formulate strategy, develop interventions and monitor performance.
This was the submission of a road safety and transportation analyst, Prof. Iyiola Oni, at a recent online seminar (webinar) titled “An X-ray of the Decade of Action on Road Safety in Nigeria,” where some gains of the decade of action were highlighted by speakers.
Oni, who is a professor of Transport Geography in the University of Lagos, explained that the nexus between effective road safety management and availability of reliable data also helps decision makers to identify risks and set targets. His paper was on “Data Integrity: A Panacea for Effective Road Safety Management in Nigeria.”
In another paper “Road Safety Enforcement And Road Safety Education on A Scale,” Dr. Charles Asenime of the School of Transport, Lagos State University, Ojo, advocated road safety education and strengthening existing road safety institutions in order to reduce accidents and make enforcement easier.
Oni, in his presentation, listed some of the agencies and organisation to which accurate road crash data are useful as policymakers, traffic engineers, insurance companies, safety advocates, the Police, health sector, and auto makers.
“Road safety is a critical public and health policy issue. Good data are needed to raise awareness about the magnitude of road traffic injuries to convince policymakers of the need for action,” the professor said, stating that a good crash data should provide adequate information on the vehicle, the road user, and other facts on the motoring environment.
He called for a strong collaboration among all the related data-generating institutions, including the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the police, the National Bureau of Statistics, National Population Commission, and Federal Ministry of Health/hospitals to build a comprehensive and integrated data bank.
Participants in the virtual conference were also enlightened by the don on the importance of data integrity or accuracy in road safety analysis, especially regarding the need to get a true picture of road safety problems.
Data integrity, according to him, enables an understanding of the main problem, causes of crashes and their outcome; as well as consideration of specific interventions and execution of action plans based on strategies.
Dr. Asenime identified inadequate personnel and enforcement equipment, such as speed guns, breathalyzers and speed cameras, among others, as well as absence road safety education from primary school stage, as some of the challenges facing road safety in the country.
He, therefore, recommended the inclusion of road safety in the curricula of primary and secondary schools; strengthening of the FRSC by recruiting more personnel; procurement of more patrol vehicles and modern enforcement equipment, as well as stringent supervision of all registered driving schools by the corps.
Asenime urged government to “urgently sign into law the Draft National Transport Policy,” and like Oni, called for an integrated data system, in addition to “a visible handshake between the FRSC and states’ traffic management agencies.”
Remarks and papers were also presented at the virtual conference by Commander J.K. Fanola, who represented the FRSC Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi; country director, United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety, Dr. Sydney Ibeanusi; and former Transport Secretary, Federal Capital Territory, ex Lagos transport commissioner and executive vice chairman, Presidential Task Team on Apapa port road, Comrade Kayode Opeifa.
Other speakers were the director of Road Traffic Services, FCT, Wadata Bodinga; managing director of CVIS, Segun Obayendo; a road safety advocate, Patrick Adenusi; and Dr. Yemi Omidiji.
The decade of action was expected to achieve 50 percent reduction in road traffic deaths. Officially proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in March 2010, the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, seeks to save millions of lives by building road safety management capacity; improving the safety of road infrastructure; further developing the safety of vehicles; enhancing the behaviour of road users.