By Boston Edogi
Driving is better approached with maturity, patience, and wisdom. It also requires proper driving documentation from the appropriate government agency.
In civilized societies all over the world, trailer drivers are trained exceptionally before they embark on driving in State or Interstate highways. This is not the case in many African countries, particularly in West Africa.
There have been so many recorded and unrecorded deaths in Nigeria that have been caused by reckless, drunken, impaired, sick, wicked, uneducated, and untrained drivers.
Some of these drivers obtain their licenses through the backdoors and delivered to them in their living rooms, streets, parks, or restaurants by corrupt drivers’ licensing authorities in Nigeria.
Most of these drivers do not understand traffic signs or road signs and they cannot communicate because of the lack of formal education. Therefore, they fail to understand driving guidelines.
The death rate has also increased and continues to escalate because in NIGERIA, it is a known fact there are no universal road signs including traffic lights that would have cautioned these drivers that are plying the roads along with other road users including pedestrians.
In a few areas, where there are traffic lights, the lights are not functional, either because they have been knocked down by cars, vandalized by area boys or power to operate the traffic lights.
The danger of being on Nigerian roads at any given time are deeply unbearable, too dangerous and alarming. The appropriate authorities to address these problems continue to pay deaf ears, as such, these problems are left unattended while innocent road users are killed or die continuously.
A recent case in point was the Pipeline Explosion at Abule-Ado, FESTAC Phase II, Lagos, Nigeria, which caused the untimely deaths of children including two Catholic sisters: Principal/Vice Principal of Bethlehem Girls College: a Catholic Boarding school in the neighborhood where the gas pipeline explosion occurred.
Also, it was reported that fifty properties were destroyed by the fire from this incident.
Proffered solutions to minimize deaths caused by drivers/trailer drivers in Nigeria:
- All potential/current trailer drivers including other drivers’ license applicants MUST be retrained on the safety of road usage.
- All potential/new trailer drivers and other categories of license applicants must obtain the proper driver’s licenses issued by the appropriate licensing authority.
- License records of all trailer drivers and other categories of drivers must be reviewed every 6 months for clean/violations including driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs( DUI) records) and negative outcomes should be reported in all national data sources by the police, road safety, and other law enforcement agencies.
- Trailer Drivers should only be permitted to use the roads during night hours (from the hours of 8 pm-4 am: Monday-Saturday and Sundays (6 pm to 4 am on Sundays). During these hours, all major roads/highways will be less populated or used by other categories of motorists/pedestrians.
5- Traffic offenders; trailer license and other drivers license categories holders of the above guidelines(rules and regulations) should be suspended for 1 year and recurrence offenders’ licenses should be suspended for 5 years, and therefore, any driver who commits additional violation(s) after the second suspension, his/her license will be permanently suspended.
- Applicable court appearances/hearings should be instituted and applicable fines, jail retention including imprisonment should be handed out as allowed by the law.
Millions of people are injured due to the result of road traffic crashes annually in Nigeria and thousands of people in Nigeria die from road accidents. These traffic fatalities must stop in Nigeria.
Therefore, I am at this time calling upon President Buhari/Federal and various State governments in Nigeria to consider the recommendations being provided to enhance better/sustainable road safety/usage by all drivers across Nigeria, particularly trailer drivers.
Thanks to anyone that will add a comment or provide additional suggestions. All are encouraged to share this post so that it will go viral.
May the souls of all those whose lives were cut short due to lack of trained/untimely response team too poor facilities across Nigeria, Rest In Peace. Condolences also go to all the bereaved families.
Boston Edogi, Ph.D., Organizational Leadership Consultant / Public Opinion Contributor wrote from Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.