In this analysis, IFEDAYO OGUNYEMI examines the effect of speeding on road accidents in the country and the resulting problems affecting the transport sector.
Despite Nigeria’s recent ranking as one of the countries in the world with the average speed limit for road vehicles, speed limit violations account for an estimated 55.14% of road accidents in the country in 2021, Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) showed.
According to NBS/FRSC data, a total of 16,337 road accidents recorded during the year resulted in 6,205 fatalities and 38,073.00 injuries. Cumulatively, 9,009 accidents were caused by speed limit violations.
It should be noted that with its average road speed of 55 km/h, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranked Nigeria 143 of 162 countries with low speed roads and among countries with the lowest speed range of 30-60 km/h.
Despite this ranking, a total of 4,283 road accidents were recorded across the country in the first quarter of 2022. More than half – 2,561 (59.79%) – of these accidents were caused by limit violations. of speed. This is followed by unjustified overtaking – 290 (6.77%), violation of traffic lights – 243 (5.67%), dangerous driving – 229 (5.35%) and tire blowout – 223 (5 .21%) among others.
During the same period, Saturday Grandstand reports that a total of 24,192 people were involved in all crashes, including the 1,834 people confirmed dead by the FRSC out of the 12,128 recorded victims.
Similarly, in eighteen months covering the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2022, where a total of 24,992 road accidents were recorded across the country, 9,857 people were confirmed dead by the FRSC out of the 67 926 registered victims. A total of 129,252 people were involved in the crashes nationwide.
It should also be noted that 14,215 of these accidents (representing 56.88%) over the eighteen months were caused by speed limit violations. A concerned road user would therefore be worried as to why speed limit violation is responsible for a greater share of recorded road accidents at a time when the country boasts of being among the countries with the range lowest road speed in the world.
Dataphyte Reports that the average average speeds are measured according to the average time taken to move from one city to another distant of 80 kilometers while adding that these data are evaluated using the quality of the road as a parameter.
A report 2021 by Making Cities Safer noted that reducing vehicle speeds is an important road safety measure that helps reduce the impact and risk of crashes, among other benefits such as the severity of injuries resulting from such crashes.
The report’s observation follows repeated warnings and warnings from the FRSC to drivers to maintain speed limit regulations as part of efforts to keep the roads safe for all road users and their properties.
According to Nigerian Highway Code, the maximum legal speed a driver can travel on a road under ideal conditions differs. The maximum speed for motorcycles, passenger cars, taxis and buses, tank trucks and trailers, and towing vehicles (when towing and/or otherwise) on motorways is between 45-80 km/ h and 45-100 km/h on highways.
Problems with the Nigerian transport sector
On the correlation between road speed and accidents on Nigerian roads, Abdulrahman Ajala, Transport and Traffic Planner and former Education Officer of the Corps of Road Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Agency of Ogun State (TRACE), said the IMF ranking only measures the quality of road accessibility – the ease of reaching point A from point B.
He further listed issues affecting the efficiency of transport in the country including human error, road and vehicle quality, lack of road connections to other forms of transport such as air, water, rail, etc., which can reduce dependence and pressure on roads. , and the failure to implement the National Transport Policy which has been in draft form for years, saying that “only when this is done can we say that in the near future , the sector will be better for it”.
He, however, stressed that speed is a fundamental factor in road accidents as it determines the severity of accidents and maneuverability in difficult situations, noting that any speed above 10 km/h is not bearable by human beings and that there is a possibility of an accident when vehicles exceed speed. this.
“The higher your speed, the lighter the vehicle becomes and the harder it is to control in an accident. Drivers are supposed to move at a speed that matches road and vehicle conditions, but they don’t, leading to accidents.
“Road accidents in Nigeria are caused by human errors as there is great behavioral and cognitive impairment among Nigerian drivers. Most drivers move vehicles without regard to road and vehicle conditions, other road users, and even the occupants of the vehicle they are in. What is the level of training of their driver?
“Nigeria’s road traffic system is porous. Most of the nation’s unemployed today find jobs in driving and the irony is that many of them fail to go through the licensing process, even though there are problems in the process. licensing, as it does not ensure that only good and competent drivers are on the road. Everyone in this process, including regulators and agencies, is guilty of what we consider to be human errors. Human beings build, maintain, use and regulate the use of roads and wherever they have failed in their role there will be a problem,” Ajala said.
Speed limiter to the rescue
FRSC, the country’s road safety agency, has over the years continued to express deep concern over the growing incidence of recorded speeding across the country, especially as it continues to result in loss of life and property.
He therefore demanded that a speed limiter be installed in all vehicles on the road as part of efforts to reduce the rate of road accidents and the resulting loss of life on the highways.
Earlier in 2022, former FRSC Corps Marshal Dr Boboye Oyeyemi mandated all his men and officers to enforce the installation and use of speed limiters in the vehicles that criss-cross the country’s roads.
“Given the high number of road accidents attributed to speeding, wouldn’t it be fair to say that the FRSC’s crusade to encourage motorists to install speed limiters in their vehicles has failed?” Oyeyemi being questioned at the event.
It is reported that the mandatory use of the device is contained in the FRSC Establishment Act and National Road Traffic Regulations since 2004 and retained in later amendments.
The device limits the speed of a vehicle to a prescribed level, making further acceleration impossible. The cost of purchasing and installing the device in 2016 was N36,000.
In addition to reducing and regulating the speed of a vehicle, a speed limiter device is believed to help a vehicle consume less fuel, reduce vehicle maintenance costs and slow depreciation value, and have a positive impact on changing individual driving behavior.
However, there has been a consistent violation of this regulation as at least 1,291 commercial vehicles were stopped by the FRSC for driving without a speed limiter in Lagos State between January (611 vehicles) and February (680 vehicles) 2022 only.
Why Nigerians disregard the use of speed limiters
Meanwhile, Ajala, who is also a senior lecturer and head of transport planning and management department at the Federal Polytechnic in Ilaro, Ogun state, added that the implementation of the scheme speed limit crashed early due to the rigorous debate in the National Assembly and the refusal of some states to domesticate it.
“We all know there’s been a serious debate at NASS. And that’s one of the reasons law enforcement died out. We need to regulate road use, but roads Nobody can cover a stretch of 3-4 km without applying the brakes, which naturally makes it unnecessary to use speed limiters.Our roads do not allow such exhaustive speed.
“We have the FRSC and many road maintenance agencies trying to achieve the same goals. Have they been able to create synergies to achieve such objectives? FRSC has national road traffic strategies, are they domesticated at road agency level in different states? There has not been this cordial interaction that FRSC strategies are understood by state agencies. There should be a national road traffic conference where all the agencies in the country come up with strategies to address the issues facing the sector to make the roads safer.
“How many roads are laid out with appropriate traffic signs? Are there facilities that enhance the optimal use of the road, such as directional arrows, parking area, lane markings, traffic lights, cat’s eyes for identification at night? These are basic requirements that drivers are expected to interact with on the roads to aid and control driving behaviors like speeding,” he stressed.
This report was produced as part of the Dataphyte Data and Development Reporting Fellowship 2022.