THE high rate of accidents on Ondo State roads in recent time is worrisome. Statistics from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) revealed that 1,428 persons and 75 fatalities were recorded in 218 road crashes in the state between January and June 2022.FRSC’s records also indicated that 8,399 offenders were arrested during the period with 356 vehicles in which 567 people sustained varying degrees of injuries, while 1,345 were rescued from the crashes unhurt.
The report equally revealed that 1, 025 males and 403 females were involved in crashes in the first half of the year across the state. This narration is not only unacceptable but very unhealthy for the sustainable development of the state and Nigeria. The need to stem or reverse this ugly trend of rising avoidable road carnage in the state requires identifying the causes, efforts made in the past to reduce occurrence as well as proffer realistic solutions to road accidents significantly in the state and Nigeria in general.
IN general, causes of road accidents have been categorised into human, mechanical or vehicle, road condition, environmental, and institutional factors. Some of the prominent causes of road accidents in the state relate to vehicle defects especially while ascending or descending slopes. Also many of our roads are inaccessible, too narrow, not developed, and full of potholes. Thus, many accidents occur while driving on these bad roads. This factor is acerbated by roadside encroachment, road edge obstruction by poles, trees very close to pavement edge or carriageways, inadequate width of road shoulders, and lack of road signs or marking to warn or inform drivers about the nature of the road. Sometimes, motorists drive totally blind in the night because there is a lack of streetlights.
FRSC revealed that the most prevalent causes of the crashes in Ondo State were speed limit violation, dangerous driving and lack of concentration by drivers. In addition, many untrained and unlicensed individuals are found driving especially among the youths that suddenly become rich overnight who acquired expensive cars but cannot wait to learn driving. All these factors contribute to the increase in road crashes in the state.
IT should be pointed out that some efforts have been made to address road accidents and their consequences in the past. They include construction and expansion of roads, education of the public on the danger inherent in road accidents, licensing of drivers, vehicle inspection and road worthiness, construction of pedestrian walkways and overpasses, and zebra crossing, etc. Despite these, road crashes still occur in the state especially in some specific areas that are prone to road accidents.
WE believe that accidents on the road cannot be stopped outrightly because of some of the factors enumerated above. However, there are ways to reduce the number and frequency of road crashes in the state nay Nigeria. The need to emplace and embrace adequate road safety devices and activities become imperative to reduce incidence of road carnage experienced in recent times in Ondo state. One of the things to do to curb incessant accidents and avoidable deaths on the road is to introduce extensive system of regulations and restriction concerned with safety on the major roads. Authorities should embrace stricter enforcement of traffic regulations including speed restriction, There is the need to introduce and place speed limit and road signs to warn drivers about the dangerous nature of the road.
EDUCATION and sensitization of drivers on the need to embrace safety precautions on the roads should be introduced by the appropriate government agencies..The quality of vehicles plying our roads should be looked into. For instance, a situation where Vehicle Inspection Officers VIO, issue road worthiness certificate without examining vehicle is not right and has allowed unworthy vehicles to flood the roads causing accidents. We also suggest the need to improve road conditions and proper traffic guidance and control system to guide road users in ensuring safe movement of vehicles. There is also the need to conduct studies on road accidents with a view to developing road safety policy for the state.
GOVERNMENT should enforce the installation of speed limiters on vehicles. This will reduce over speeding of vehicle and invariably road crash.
WE advise the authorities concerned to prosecute road offenders to serve as different as against the fines being imposed by the FRSC. This to as is a form of revenue generations
ABOVE all, government through its relevant agencies should ensure that only tested and certified persons are licenced to drive on our roads. A situation where many sit in the comfort of their homes and obtain drivers licence through the back door by boycotting the rigorous process is unacceptable as this only breeds potential risks on our roads.