The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) says it plans for a mandatory driving test for all licence applicants across the country, adding that the development would curtail the issuance of the document to unauthorised persons and further reduce road accidents.
Mr. Bisi Kazeem, deputy Corps Public Education Officer said recently in Lagos that the new arrangement would enable the corps to have a comprehensive database of competent drivers authorised to drive in the country and the establishment of a one-stop- shop for the processing of application, payment of processing fees and physical capture of applicant's data.
In an effort to cut down the rate of road accidents in the country during the ember months, he said that the Commission had identified specific periods of the year to rev up its enforcement and public enlightenment campaigns such as "the ember months, which run into the Yuletide, in view of road traffic peculiarities associated with the season."Kazzim said a programme tagged "Ember Safe Month" which was initiated since September this year, sought to provide an effective mechanism that would foster a common passion for increased collaboration among all stakeholders in road safety, federal and state governments, Local Government Councils, the Nigerian Police and other relevant government agencies. He explained that in the last three years, the Corps' management has developed a clear road map in its resolve to transform the FRSC to a world class organisation.
Recently, the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria presented a corporate award of excellence to the Corps in Lagos under the Public sector category among other recipients such as the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue, in recognition of its remarkable feat in road crash reduction in the country.
According to the organisers, the Corps' application of Information Technology and Communication initiatives in road safety administration and traffic management has impacted positively on national growth and traffic conduct on the highways.
In a related development, the Abuja Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations has also presented a distinguished leadership award to the management of the Federal Road Safety Corps for transforming into a credible public organization with the capacity to inject order and control in the nation's transport sector.
Over time, yuletide has always been associated with high rate of accidents on the nation's roads; however Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in a bid to checkmate the ugly tide has introduced public enlightenment campaign aimed at reducing road crashes during 'ember months.
The new programme tagged Ember Safe Months seeks provide an effective mechanism that will foster a common passion for increased collaboration among all stakeholders in road safety including federal, state and local governments.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos recently, the Corps Public Education Officer, Mr. Bisi Kaeem said that under this arrangement, the commission will conduct an assessment of various states based on a three year December road crashes records in respective states and award belt of honour to states with least number of accidents.
According to Mr. Kazeem, the programme is part of measures to stimulate a common passion and increase investment in road safety in the country.
He noted that resilient disposition of officers of FRSC has started yielding desirable fruits as there has been significant reduction in road traffic crashes in the last two years.
"We achieved a 36 per cent reduction in road traffic crashes and a corresponding downward slide in road traffic injuries by 35 per cent from last year. While traffic offences booked increased by 39.6 per cent, crash helmet and overloading enforcements has increased by 61 per cent and 73 per cent respectively" he stated.
Daily Champion recalls that a recent study conducted by the commission revealed that more than 80 percent of all road accidents which leads to serious injuries and loss of lives were attributed to human factor, characterized by poor knowledge of traffic rules and regulations, uncontrolled entry into the driving profession, and the influence of drugs and other intoxicants.
The study further identified overloading as the main cause of accidents. With this discovery, the Commission flagged off a nationwide campaign against overloading, with regards to all range commercial motorists.
Kazeem said that within the last three years Corps management has developed a clear road map in its resolve to transform the FRSC to a world class organisation.
"We have invested in people, in processes and technology. Part of the technology is the automation of most of our activities: the call centre, driver's license, offenders data base, vehicle number data base and also the creation of on-line offenders management strategy" he said.
As the year comes to an end, so also many Nigerians look forward to the period with unconcealed trepidation. It is about what is known to everybody in this country as the EMBER MONTHS; the final months of the year that ends with "EMBER".
Every year, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), issues warning to motorists to be extra careful on the wheel during the EMBER MONTHS. In truth, the road gets dangerous during the period of ember months as many auto-accidents are recorded in the last months of the year. Bad roads riddled by pot holes have turn to deep gullies as a result of neglect over the years by relevant authorities making them death traps.
During this period of 'ember months', especially the period of celebration like the Christmas and New Year. There is tension everywhere and everybody appears to be on the rush to meet up with their family needs.
Some people encounter a lot of misfortunes like accidents on the high way; accidents caused because people are in a hurry while the road is patient. This period also, drivers and passengers are in serious threat to attack by armed men.
The Commission believes that the high rate of accidents during Ember months could be reduced if drivers and vehicles owners can carry out proper and regular maintenance of their vehicles by replacing all worn-out parts. Also, if drivers can keep away from drugs and alcohol while driving on high way and avoid reckless driving, accidents could be reduced in this country.
All across the length and breadth of the country, there are always gory stories of one form of auto crash or another as hardly a day passes without road accidents claiming lives of unsuspecting victims.
Under the newly introduced Ember Safe Months programme, the police, FRSC and Drivers Union through the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) is expected to come together and complement one another in the efforts to ensure safety on our roads through strict enforcement and obedience to road traffic regulations.