The rising loss of lives to road accidents in the country should worry the government and the agencies charged with the responsibility of ensuring safety on our roads. Recent figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that 2,673 people were killed in road accidents between January and June this year. This means that about 15 persons were killed in road crashes in the country daily during the period under review.
Details of the accidents show that 1,466 people died in the first quarter while 1,207 died in the second quarter. Further breakdown of those who died in the second quarter indicated 1,022 males (80 percent) and 257 females (20 percent). However, there was a slight reduction in the number of road accidents from 2,556 in the first quarter to 2,503 mishaps in the second quarter. Over-speeding was held responsible for the majority of accidents in the second quarter, accounting for 44.44 percent of the cases. Loss of control caused 12.92 percent, while dangerous driving was responsible for 8.06 percent.
In all, 8,270 people were injured. Out of this figure, 7,805 or 94 percent were adults, while 465 or six percent were children. In the same vein, 6,217 males or 75 percent were injured in road traffic crashes in the second quarter, while 2,053 females or 25 percent were injured. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recorded the most of the accidents in the second quarter. It was closely followed by Kaduna and Niger states. Borno and Bayelsa states had the least number of road accidents. A breakdown of the categories of vehicles involved in road accidents revealed that 58.59 percent or 2,363 were commercial, 40.22 percent or 1,622 were private, 1.14 percent or 46 were government and two belonged to diplomats. A total of 218,060 drivers licences were produced in the second quarter with Lagos and Abuja recording the highest number of licences, while Zamfara and Kebbi states had the lowest figure.
The increasing loss of lives to road accidents in Nigeria is regrettable. We call on the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to rise to the challenge and do all in its power to put an end to the increasing road deaths. Since most of the road accidents were caused by excessive speeding, dangerous driving and loss of control, preventive efforts should be geared towards changing the attitude of Nigerian drivers.
Road safety measures should go beyond emphasis on fines, revenue collection and unorthodox psychiatric tests, to sensitisation and education of drivers. Our drivers need more education on road safety. They should be made to understand that driving is not a race where the first to reach his destination would be rewarded with a trophy.
Since the essence of driving is safety, they should care for the safety of road users. Drivers should not regard driving as warfare or competition. They should maintain discipline and decorum on the road. The FRSC officials must curb excessive speeding. The enforcement of the use of speed limiters will be of immense benefit in the effort to reduce our road accident casualties.