On a bright morning in late October 2015, I woke up to uproar because of a full-scale student protest at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State. They were registering their grievances that arose due to the death of Miss Maria Atere, a fourth-year undergraduate. She was involved in a ghastly motor accident during which the motorcycle, on which she was travelling, was hit by a car on the road leading to the school gate the night before. Upon arriving at the scene of the protest, I heard youths speaking in high tones. They were majorly blaming motorists for their perceived ineptitude habitually displayed while conveying passengers along the route. There and then, it dawned on me that public education on road safety, in Nigeria, needs to be intensified.
According to wikipedia.org (2016), Road Safety refers to the methods and measures used to prevent road users from being killed or seriously injured. Typical road users include pedestrians and motorists.
As seen from data revealed by the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for year 2015 in January, this year, 439 crashes were recorded in Nigeria with 3,113 fatalities. This is a 9.3% reduction from the amount of crashes previously recorded in 2014. It is pertinent to note that over the years, the commission has intensified efforts in the installation of speed limiting devices and proper punishment of road traffic offenders.
As noted by Adedokun (2015), an intelligent transport researcher at Linkoping University, the impact of exposure on traffic safety is well reflected in the number of deaths and injuries recorded on Nigerian roads. Thus, one can safely imply that there is increased exposure coupled with the effectiveness of various measures put in place to avert crashes. The equipment will always be there however, what we should focus on, at this time, is public education.
Youth in Nigeria includes citizens aged 18-35 years and according to the National Youth Policy (2009), Nigeria has one of the largest populations of youths in the world, comprising of 33,652,424 members. Since youths constitute Nigeria’s hope for a greater future, there is no more equipped group that should spearhead the campaign for total adherence to all practices aimed at ensuring road safety. An example of this is the order by the FRSC on Monday 15th August, 2016, reiterating that drivers should install speed limiting devices on their vehicles.
I sincerely opine that the role of youth as vanguard for promoting public education on road safety in Nigeria is one that is imperative at this time because they are stakeholders who are adequately connected to other age groups and are at a strategic position to teach and ensure compliance during road use.
Furthermore, it is of no doubt that youth can properly cook up and leverage on new ideas to spread the Dos and Don’ts. They are leaders in action who, by total adherence to safe practices, will serve as role models to other users of road facilities.
A major way this can be accomplished is by organizing awareness campaigns which will propagate core issues like “Where to Learn How to Drive”, “How to Locate a Registered Driving School” and “Why you should not Drink and Drive”. This can be effectively achieved via road walks, procurement and distribution of fliers, and even through social media.
Another avenue to share the gospel is visit to nursery, primary and secondary schools of learning to teach on “Road Signs and Markings” and “How to Cross the Roadways”. This will mean taking the drive to the roots and will decrease the incidents involving children.
Now is the time for the youth to be at the forefront with the rank and file of the FRSC, the statutory body dedicated to making Nigerian highways safe for road users, to help ensure the success of the mission of Safe Road in Nigeria which is to reduce road crash deaths and injuries by 50% in 2020.
Adedokun, A. (2015), Road Accidents in Nigeria, Analysis And Discussion. Retrieved from: http://omojuwa.com/2015/07/road-accidents-in-nigeria-analysis-and-discussion-by-adeyemi-adedokun/
Pulse.ng (2016) ‘In 2015, a 9.3% reduction was recorded in road traffic crashes’, boss reports. Retrieved from: http://pulse.ng/traffic/frsc-in-2015-a-9-3-reduction-was-recorded-in-road-traffic-crashes-boss-reports-id4580256.html
Wikipedia.org (2016) Road Traffic Safety. Received from: http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_traffic_safety
Wikipedia.org (2016) Youth in Nigeria Received from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_in_Nigeria
Wikipedia.org (2009) National Youth Policy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Received from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_in_Nigeria#National_Youth_Policy_of_the_Federal_Republic_of_Nigeria