On Oct 1, 2016, I will be a year older by the mercies of the Almighty God. In anticipation, I have already planned to roll the red carpets, beat the African drums and click some glasses with friends, in addition to spending time with God to appreciate Him for His unwavering mercies over my life, family and career.
Fortunately for me and for the first time in my career especially with the austere economic times that we are passing through, my friends will miss the special plantain and fish delicacy which I was planning to spoil them with. Instead, I will be spending Oct 1, 2016 on the road; thanks to my boss, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps,Dr Boboye Oyeyemi who last week announced that Oct 1,2016; my birthday is the deadline for commercial vehicles to install speed limiters in their vehicles or face the full wrath of the law.
What this means is that all my friends should not bother looking out for me on that day as I will be on the road looking out for defaulters whose vehicles will be on the road without the speed limiter which is mandatory for all vehicles although the Oct 1, deadline affects only commercial vehicles. On a second thought, I must thank President Munammadu Buhari and my boss for saving me the trouble of spending my little cash on my friends and opting to wait on the Lord with the support of my friends as a novel departure.
The new deadline is coming on the heels of the final approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, for (FRSC) to begin the enforcement of the speed limiting device from October 1, 2016.The enforcement was initially to commence on September 1, 2015 but after plea by stakeholders was moved to 1, 2016 by the President, who thereafter moved it to Oct 1,2016 which has been identified by stakeholders and the National Assembly as timely in view of the need to apply technology that is cost effective and adaptable with capacity to regulate vehicle speed and checkmate the increasing spate of speed related road traffic crashes.
In the character of our engagement with stakeholders, a meeting was convened to announce Mr. Presidents new date; in attendance were Senator Tijani Kaura,Chairman Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs, Deputy Chairman House Committee on Federal Road Safety Commission, on Engineer Solomon Bulus maren,representatives of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and of Standard Organization of Nigeria(SON), National Automotive Design and Development Council, Office of the NationalSecurityAdviser,DSS,Association of speed limiters of Nigeria,PTD-NUPENG,Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria(Rtean),National Union of Road Transport Workers(NURTW),and National Association of Road Transport Owners(NARTO).
Speaking after the stakeholders meeting, Dr Oyeyemi said that the FRSC was particularly interested in enforcing the speed limiting device so as to reduce road accidents stating that vehicles without the device from October 1st will be impounded and the driver will be forced to do the right thing noting that, “The final directive from the Presidency is clear; the enforcement date for the implementation of the speed limiting device is on Oct. 1 and we have had series of stakeholders meeting and “The essence of today’s meeting is to finally convey the directive of the federal government to the stakeholders that with effect from Oct.
1, the implementation and enforcement would commence.“We already have the portal that we will use to monitor this, we don’t need to pursue any vehicle, we will just stop you like we verify license.“On the tablet we will check whether your vehicle has been installed with the device, if it has not, we will impound the vehicle and we make sure that you do the right thing. He, however, noted that the FRSC would momentarily compel only commercial vehicles to install the device on their vehicles before subsequently extending the enforcement to private vehicles.
Although a contravention should warrant a fine, my boss however says the approach will be different as he noted that, “We are not talking about fines now, it’s to save lives so we will impound the vehicle then the owner of the vehicle will be made to install the device before the journey continues.
Let me state that the statutory powers on the regulation on the compulsory use of speed limiting device on vehicles in Nigeria is contained in the FRSC Establishment Act (2007) and the National Road Traffic Regulation 2012.In Section 10, sub section (m) of the (Establishment) Act, 2007, the Commission is empowered in determining and enforcing speed limits for all categories of roads and vehicles and controlling the use of speed limiting devices.
It states that , All motor vehicles plying the highway shall be in possession of good electric or air horn, jack, wheel spanner, tools, fire extinguisher, Inflated spare tyre, first aid box, emergency warning triangles or cones, laminated windscreen and mirror, speed governor(ie.speed limiter), wipers, insurance certificate and road worthiness certificate.Similarly, in the National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR, 2012) it provides that,’’ A person shall not drive a vehicle on any public road which is not fitted with a speed limiter(ie.speed limiting device).
This is no time for platitudes as we need the buy in of all to check to check excessive speeding which according to Dr Oyeyemi in his presentation during the Public Hearing by the House of Representatives, has been identified as a key risk factor in road traffic injuries, influencing both the risk of a road crash as well as the severity of the injuries that result from injuries. Speed affects the driver, the vehicle, other road users and the environment underscoring the reason behind the FRSC initiatives.
The functions of the speed limiting device he further maintained are therefore multi-dimensional. The effects of speed include: increased driver’s response time to objects and increase risk of collision, reduces the driver’s ability to steer safely and around curves and objects on the roads, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation. Between January to December, 2015, Nigeria recorded increased rate of road crashes and a greater percentage (35%) was attributed to speeding and over 58% are speed related. Interestingly, there has been a downward reduction in RTC since Nigeria began the campaign on Speed limiter in 2012 and the Speed Violation (SPV) percentage has also fallen respectively, indicating that Nigeria has started reaping the benefits of Speed Limiter.
The benefits of the initiatives include; lower speed resulting in less fuel consumption by vehicles, lower speed also cuts down vehicles maintenance cost and slows down depreciation value thus vehicles last longer. It will significantly impact positively in changing the individual driving behavior which has been hard to achieve over the years as it will reduce the speed of vehicle to pre-set limit thus reducing overall crash risk and likely to lessen severity of crash e. The initiatives will equally engender good monitoring mechanism for vehicle owners‟/fleet operators; engender compliance with the ECOWAS mandate and UN Decade of Action, as well as fulfillment of the Corps statutory functions through good practice. It will assist to eliminate losses associated with speed related crashes which are usually in vehicles loss, damage to roads and road infrastructure, house, goods etc and will also assist to preserve the young virile members of the society from deaths and maiming associated with speed induced crashes. i. It enables more relaxed driving and lower insurance premium as consequence of reduced crashes.
He concluded by stating that based on global best practice, 33 countries were identified to use the speed limiting device.