The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has identified alcohol, excess speed, and overloading as leading causes of road accidents in Nigeria.
Gilbert Igbokwe, FRSC’s zonal commanding officer in charge of Lagos and Ogun, said this at the ‘Don’t Drink and Drive 2023’ campaign launch in Lagos, Wednesday.
The Beer Sectoral Group (BSG) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in partnership with the FRSC launched the 2023 edition of its “Don’t Drink & Drive” campaign on November 1, 2023, at the Movenpick Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The BSG comprises International Breweries Plc, Guinness Nigeria Plc, and Nigerian Breweries Plc.
With the theme, ‘Speed Thrills But Kills: Drive Responsibly and Avoid Overloading’, Igbokwe noted that to eradicate road crashes and create a safe motoring environment, driving responsibly and avoiding overload is a task that must be done.
“Excess speed plus overloading is equal to mass suicide,” the corps marshal said.
“Alcohol is also a big factor that leads to crashes on our roads, as it blunts alertness and reduces motor coordination, affects their vision (making it blurred or doubled), makes it hard to tell whether other vehicles, pedestrians, or objects are close or far away, and makes drivers unable to react as quickly as when they need to,” he added.
Igbokwe also said that the Ember Month Campaign has become an integral part of FRSC strategic interventions aimed at awakening the consciousness of Nigerians to the realities of road traffic rashes and their implications.
“The Ember Months – a period of September to December has been known to be a period of intense economic activities, many people want to meet up with the goals they have set for the year, while others want to prepare for the Christmas Celebration. These entail a lot of movements. Unfortunately the priority of safety is not accorded the desired attention.”
According to him, over 1.3 million people are killed through road traffic crashes with about 50 million others sustaining varying degrees of injuries worldwide annually.
Developing nations (including Nigeria) account for about 91 percent of world road fatalities with nations losing 3-5 percent of their annual GDP.
Speaking also at the launch, Hans Essaadi, chairman of the BSG and managing director of Nigerian Breweries Plc said that the BSG had signed an MOU with the FRSC in 2017 to support the FRSC’s role in “achieving a safe motoring environment in Nigeria”.
He also said that it was the MOU that “gave rise to the ‘Don’t Drink & Drive’ campaign, a flagship project of the BSG and the FRSC aimed at enlightening drivers and other road users on the dangers of drink-driving and how best to avoid this.”
The BSG and the FRSC have executed this campaign as an annual event from 2018 to date, except in 2020, it was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign advocates against any association between alcohol consumption and driving, including advocating against the sale of alcohol at motor parks.