***Speed Limiter begins October 1 with commercial vehicles
By Theodore Opara
Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, Corps Marshal and Chief Executive Officer of Federal Road safety Corps, FRSC, was the guest of Vanguard editors at the company’s corporate headquarters, Apapa recently. He spoke on the operations and activities of the Corps under his supervision in the last two years. In the cause of the interaction he shed light on the proposed speed limiter which the Corps said would be in use from October 1, 2016.
According to him the agency’s primary concern for the introduction of speed limiting device was to save lives on the highway. He told the editors that he would be fulfilled as FRSC boss if he could check over-speeding and save lives of Nigerian road users. He spoke on the tyre campaign while lamenting the pressure on the nation’s road transport sector.
“Nigeria is a big country with large road network. If we focus on integrated transportation, it would be better and eliminate the pressure on the roads,”he said.
So far, he said the tyre campaign has been successful. “Motorists now know that tyres expire. My focus is to raise the awareness, and save more lives,” he stated. He answered some questions.
Why are you introducing speed limiters in the country and why start with commercial vehicles?
Let me use this opportunity to correct a report by your staff that speed limiting device initiative could be a ploy to defraud Nigerian vehicle owners. The introduction of the speed limiters was necessitated by our findings bordering on major factors responsible for road traffic crashes in Nigeria. Last three years alone, speed limit violation accounted for about 50.8% of road crashes in the country between 2013 and 2015.
This informed the initiative by the FRSC as lead agency on road safety management to convene a stakeholder’s forum since 2013 with major stakeholders in the transport sectors, fleet operators and the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) to come out with specific standard of speed limiters to be used in the country. We are not involved in the importation, selection of brand of the speed limiters which vehicle owners should install on their vehicles. It is therefore out of place to associate the Corps with any scam intent.
Regulation 152 Sub Section (4) of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 states “a person cannot drive a vehicle that is not fitted with speed limiter on any public road”. In the same vein, Section 10 Sub Section (3m) of the FRSC Establishment Act 2007, also empowers the FRSC to make the use of speed limit device mandatory on all vehicles.
For avoidance of doubt, the speed limiter initiative is in partial fulfillment of the UN decade of action on road safety for which Nigeria is a signatory. Similarly, speed limit violation has remained a major global issue in our quest to engender sound road culture. It is also worrisome to recall that the issue of speed has been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a key risk factor in road traffic injuries, influencing both the risk of a crash as well as the severity of the injuries that result from crashes.
Interestingly, this interaction yielded some positives with SON endorsement of the standard specifications for speed limiters in 2014 and we took further steps to secure the endorsement of the stakeholders for nationwide advocacy drive which was followed with a time-line for a nationwide enforcement.
Could you tell us the difference between spider technology and speed limited?
The major advantage of the speed limiter over the spider is that the spider technology only detects over speeding, whereas the speed limiting device ensures that drivers do not drive beyond the calibrated speed limit and proactively prevents speeding and fatal consequences like death and injuries. Spider technology means camera which picks the vehicles while over-speeding but we did not settle for it because we would prefer to prevent that accident from occurring than issuing tickets for fines to the driver.
Apart from that, it is the government that provides cameras and because of the state of the economy and giving the fact that government is focusing on rehabilitation of the roads we have decided to restrain people from over speeding in order to save lives. We need to do everything possible to bring down the rate of crashes resulting from over speeding.
Motorists feel that the N36,000 price fixed by FRSC for the installation of speed limiter in a commercial vehicle was astronomical, what’s your reaction to this?
FRSC is not a profit making organisation, neither is it manufacturing speed limiters, hence it has no financial stake in the speed limiter procurement or distribution. The FRSC’s interest is restricted to regulatory practices and enforcement.
FRSC has no intention of limiting the scope of procurement of the device nor specifying who to purchase from. But we are maintaining that standards and specification prescribed by Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) must be adhered to.
For your information, some companies like Julius Berger, ABC Transport, Peace Mass Transit had already complied with the speed limiting device. Julius Berger for instance brings its vehicles from abroad with speed limiter and some commercial vehicle importers bring their vehicles with speed limiting devices installed from the factory broad.
We are not going to pursue vehicles on the highways because of speed limiter. We have a way of checking without pursuing the vehicle so as not to cause accident.
On the appointment of vendors for speed limiters installation. May I explain that the expression of interest for vendorship of the speed limiter and selection of successful vendors were duly executed in accordance with extant guidelines.
It is also important to note that apart from the safety benefit, the implementation of the programme has job creation potentials as the approved vendors had already trained over 200 technicians who had commenced installation of the limiters in vehicles. This figure is expected to increase when the second phase commences. In addition to this, some vendors are looking into the possibility of establishing speed limiting device manufacturing plants in the country which will further create more jobs for the youths.
Don’t you think that the device could prevent people from escaping from kidnappers and robbers when being pursued on the highways?
This can not be enough reason for people to kick against installation of speed limiter in their vehicles. Most vehicles or kidnapping do not involve chasing the victims, but rather surprise and sudden attacks. When the goal of ensuring that all vehicles are fitted with speed limiter is achieved both the armed robbers vehicles and other vehicles would move on the same speed.
As I speak with you, many countries now have speed limiting laws which made speed limiting device compulsory for commercial vehicles.
You shifted the earlier date for enforcement to October 1st 2016, what informed the shift in date?
Despite the numerous obstacles faced by officials while analysing the technology, and trying to convince Nigerians about the benefits of accepting it, the agency was forced to shift the launching date from initial June 1, 2015 to October 1, 2016. The final directive from the presidency is clear. The enforcement date for the implementation of speed limiting device is October 1 and we have had series of stakeholders meeting which the outcome is very impressive.
There are about 12 million vehicles on Nigerian road including private and commercial vehicles, not all will use speed limiting device. The focus now is on commercial vehicles which include mini buses, luxury buses, trailers trucks etc excluding taxis and buses in urban areas.
If we can check the over-speeding of commercial vehicles which account for 65 per cent of vehicles on the highways, we would save many lives. When there is a crash of one bus it usually involves many lives and my mandate is to save lives. If we can restrict them with maximum speed limit that they supposed to move, even if there is an accident, the fatality will be minimal.
Since the major means of transportation in Nigerian is by road, we need to have control. We wont stop trucks on the highway. We will simply use the technology to verify if the vehicle had complied with the speed limiting standard by the Corps.
When are you going to arm your staff with firearms?
It is in the act establishing FRSC for us to carry arms. We need it for night operations. Legally we have the power because it is in the act that established FRSC. Over 5000 of my staff have been trained on how to handle arms.
What are the documents a motorist is expected to possess while driving?
A road safety official can demand for original drivers license, vehicle license, road-worthiness and insurance but for commercial vehicles they are expected to be in possession of their hackney permit. However, they are not supposed to stop you and demand for these documents except if you have committed major offences like making use of phone while driving, not using your seat belt etc.
But if you are flagged down for any of these major offences the officer can ask for spear tyre, C-caution, fire extinguisher and others.