Africa has the world’s highest road accident death rates, with Nigeria topping the list of African countries with the most traffic accident-related fatalities according to World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 1,834 people died out of 3,345 road accidents that occurred in the country between January and March 2022.
NBS reveals that a number of factors are responsible for road traffic crashes in Nigeria, ranging from speed violations, light/sign violations, wrongful overtaking, dangerous driving and tyre-bursting as causes of road traffic accidents in the country.
Break failures, route violations and bad roads are also noted as some of the causes.
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates over 1.3 million people die every year as a result of traffic accidents worldwide, and more than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Segun Ogungbemide, the Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, said that the Federal Service Corp. has made efforts to address the problem, which has persisted for a number of years.
“The reason for the establishment of FRSC is in line with its vision of eradicating road crashes and creating an enabling environment for Nigerian road users,” Ogungbemide said.
Read also: 22 people whose deaths touched Nigerians in 2022
He also mentioned that there are three different causes of crashes that occur on the road: the environment (the road), the car itself, and human error (either by omission or commission).
With a total road network of 194,394 km, Nigeria has the largest road network in Sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of these roads were built years ago when vehicular traffic was limited and alternate modes of transit, such as trains, were available. However, the rise in automobile traffic has not been matched by an increase in road development at a comparable rate.
With defunct rail transport and waterways as alternative modes of transportation, the load on roads have increased as a result of rising motorization. The outcome is a breakdown of roads, an increase in insecurity, especially on rail transport and a rise in the number of road accidents.
“When you want to solve a problem, you must know the genesis of the problem and by this we do a survey on the road, knowing that road play a prominent role in most crashes, on a regular basis we do a monthly survey on the road to know the bad spot on the road and report to the Federal minister of works, who gives the mandate to work on the road,” Ogungbemide said.
“Based on our research, it also confirms that the level of enforcement we do on the road, the highway, that’s sending our team to the road to arrest and take off bad vehicles on the road can only take care of 16 percent of what we intend to achieve. The one that will give more impact is to keep policies and regulations in place to prevent the crashes from happening.”
According to WHO, its estimate of 41,693 deaths on Nigerian roads was 2.82 percent of the global total. The World Bank ranks Nigeria 54th in the world in the number of road accidents.
He also noted that effort has been put in place to alleviate the situation.
“More agents are put into the system, more secure equipment for prompt reduction, best use of technology so that when there are crashes within a few minutes, our men are there to save lives and alleviate things,” Ogungbemide noted.