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WHO, experts decry rate of road crashes in Nigeria

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The WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, while calling for measures to prevent over-speeding, reduce deaths and injuries, make populations healthier and cities more sustainable, said that poverty index may soon surge as road crashes escalate in many countries.

Country ranked second highest globally

As the United Nations (UN) yesterday began the Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and experts have called for concerted and sustainable efforts to stem high rate of road crashes in Nigeria and other countries.

The WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, while calling for measures to prevent over-speeding, reduce deaths and injuries, make populations healthier and cities more sustainable, said that poverty index may soon surge as road crashes escalate in many countries.

This comes as the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) is advocating for a compulsory installation of speed limiting device, especially for commercial vehicles.

Besides, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had said that 1,363 road accidents were recorded in Nigeria in 2016, which left about 5,053 people dead, and many others critically injured.

It said speed violation was the major cause of the accidents, accounting for 33.86 per cent of the total road accidents reported in 2016.Requisite Consult Limited’s Lead Road Safety and Traffic Management Consultant, Ayodeji Oyedokun, said despite speeding and control measures, road users would continue to flout rules and regulations when they are not apprehended and disciplined.

He said the country needs to enhance driver training and certification, provide road furniture and fittings, enforce speed limit with speed cameras and radar equipment and use vehicle registrations to track offenders rather than hot pursuit, among other methods.

The Executive Director, Highway Digital Nigeria, Fahmy Omar, decried the country’s accident rate, noting that loss of lives to road crashes affect families and national development.

Also, a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), who heads the Apapa Branch, Lagos, Dr. Ombugadu Garba, said improved traffic infrastructure across the country’s road network is key to the campaign on the reduction of road crashes.

Garba lauded efforts of the FRSC, insisting that the agency’s policy on speed limiting remained crucial to correcting the habit of over-speeding among motorists. He said that unless the policy is made seamless and sustainable, the projected objectives would remain elusive.

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