By Francis Igata, Enugu
With less than one week to Christmas, the major bus terminals in the country have become beehiveS of activities as people relocate to the hinterlands to celebrate the season with their loved ones. The irony is that some of those who embark on such travels, end up in the morgues as a result of motor accidents.
Against this backdrop, the Federal Roads Safety Commission, FRSC and a popular mini-bus company- Peace Mass Transit, PMT have taken steps to ensure that the carnage on the nation’s highways, especially during this yuletide, is reduced to the barest minimum.
This partnership was brokered during a one-week training for the 4,000 drivers employed by the transport company.
Tagged: “Safety consciousness as a driving habit,” the forum provided an opportunity to remind the men behind the steering of the need to imbibe high safety driving standards while plying the highways, especially during this critical end of the year period.
FRSC’s Assistant Corps Marshal, Mr. Samuel Obayemi Olawoyin said the Corps’ vision is to make Nigerian roads safe for commuters. “FRSC has a vision of making roads safe in Nigeria. Road transportation plays a very important role in the socio-economic development of Nigeria, but like other developing economies of the world,the national efforts of economic development are being thwarted by threats of auto crashes, most of which are caused by human factors.
Auto crashes and fatalities have become a common sight on our highways and cities. The waste of human and material values which generally characterises accidents constitute a great deal of problems/concern to the employer,” he said.
He noted that road safety is a shared responsibility which is better achieved when all the key groups share a culture of road safety. “Road users must take responsibility for complying with traffic laws and engaging in safe road behaviors/culture. Unfortunately, this level of commitment is yet to be achieved.
Accidents are predictable and very few indeed are the fault of either the road or the vehicle. In most cases, it has been found that the causes of the road traffic accidents were due to ‘human error’ or in other words, ‘the driver failed to cope with the situation which confronted him,” he said.
Olawoyin said the training was put together to enable PMT drivers drive to such acceptable standard that they cannot be criticised or faulted by others. He urged them to set an example and gain the respect and cooperation of other drivers and the general public.
“In addition to driving to high standard, PMT drivers must exercise restraint, patience, tolerance, discipline and show consideration towards other road users and most importantly drive at all times to the recommendations of highway code” the Sector Commander said.
The Managing Director/CEO of PMT, Dr. Samuel Onyishi said the company is determined to ensure the safety of its passengers.
“We equally have an in-house safety department that ensures the continuous training and re-training of our drivers,” the MD who was represented by the General Manager, Mr Sylvanus Ozioko said.
He advised drivers to always desist from claiming right of way. “Drive in such a manner that you will be alive to claim your rights. The idea of defensive driving is to ensure that you are alive. You must not insist on your right of way when you know that your life is at stake,” he advised.
Continuing, Onyishi said; “We are bent on eliminating the human factors in road accidents among our drivers. We will continue to remind our drivers of the need to imbibe these driving ethics so that safety consciousness will always be in them”.
PMT, he said, is the first mass transit company in the country to introduce Speed Control Device, SCD, in all its mini-vans.