ROAD SAFETY ARTICLE

On Tuesday, 13th November 2017, channels television alerted me on a road traffic crash in Australia which claimed the life of two boys both aged 8years old .According to a report on the Web, the 52-years old woman behind the crash has since been charged with negligent driving causing death after her 4WD crashed into a southwest Sydney primary school, killing two young boys. Authorities believe that she may have been distracted by something inside her Toyota Kluger before it broke through the weatherboard walls of the demountable classroom at Banksia Road Primary School in Greenacre on Tuesday morning.

The reports further said, the boys; both aged eight, suffered cardiac arrest and died in hospital.It also said there were 24 children aged between seven and 11 in the year three classroom at the time. The driver, identified as Maha Al-Shennag, has been charged with two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death, driving in a dangerous manner and negligent driving although she was granted conditional bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday, November 29. It is understood police will allege the driver was “distracted by something in her car” before losing control

The news alert immediately brought me memory to the recent the plight of Dr Kayode Ajulo , a human rights lawyer and a friend. On November 10th 2017, he was among a long list of the who is who among celebrities whose trade and passion caught the attention of the management of the Federal Road Safety Corps who inaugurated a new set of celebrity special marshals to drive home advocacies and awareness campaigns aimed at inculcating safety awareness as a plank to drive the Corps specific intervention strategies meant to reduce the road traffic crash trend in our land.

Top on the list was veteran actor Olu Jacobs, veteran Nigerian Musician, Zaaky Azzay and Hafeez Ayetoro, better known as Saka, aka Mr, switch brand loyalty among other top celebrities. Although I missed the colourful annual lecture which provided the plank for their inauguration, I must confess that the red carpets and African drums that beat to welcome them on board the 2017 team to crash the crash was for me lost in comparism to a statement from Dr Ajulo. For those who keep in touch with my attempt to write through this platform, Dr Ajulo is the father to Master Kayode Ajulo, the 7year old boy and only child who died in a car crash which occurred on September 30,2017 which was my focus in the first week of October,2017.

Since that tragedy, my dear friend and brother have refused to allow the dark clouds of master Kayode death hold him prisoner. Rather than mourn forever, he took the footprints of the likes of Rachel Sobel of Safe Travel International to stand up against the monster and tragedy called road traffic crash. The statement he released shortly after the induction is so touchy that I have chosen to share without his permission hoping that any other hurting parent or guardian will stand up to be counted in this fight that respects none. Here is what he said; I salute the corps marshal …and all in this noble platform for the privilege given in inducting my humble self into this elite group. I see my involvement as a challenge and a call to service .it will also help in channelling my grieve for my late son into something worthwhile in my continuous service to humanity.

I lost haplessly, Kayikunmi Kayode –Ajulo, my lovely son in a ghastly motor accident. This regrettable occurrence eyewitnesses and experts account said the unfortunate death could have been averted where there is full compliance with regulations with regards to usage of seat belt and child safety belt.

Though, kayikunmi lived a short but vibrant, good and promising life, and his demise too leaves a sore scar on me, as the ultimate victim, I have decided on the strength of the lessons learned from the foregoing, to rise above the irreversible occurrence and instead, choose to save other innocent Nigerian children from similar fate by instituting a foundation called ’’kayikunmi kayoed Ajulo Memorial Foundation’’ with permanent endowment funds solely from my personal resources, he continued. My dear friend said his focus is to ensure that all relevant agencies particularly the Federal Road Safety Corps commences; full enforcement of the provisions of the law stating full usage of all seatbelt and child safety seat in a vehicle ,start immediate comprehensive and robust citizen engagement and sensitization drive with adequate driver education systems nationwide, ensure adequate driver education systems such as specific trainings before driving licenses can be acquired, advertisement and campaigns be embarked upon by all stakeholders, mandate conduct of specific extra education for traffic offenders and collection of traffic fines for all vehicle occupants who fail to use a seatbelt, commence programmes for public education campaigns in order to increase seatbelt and child safety seat wearing rates ,and thus reducing injuries and fatalities.

In the Australian crash two eight-year-old girls were also taken to the hospital in a stable condition while a nine-year-old girl was hospitalised in a serious condition. the driver was uninjured at the scene but was taken to hospital for mandatory blood and urine tests, by the Police. I have taken the pain to narrate bits from these two crashes which claimed the life of a 7year old Nigerian only child and two years old boys in faraway Australia. As painful as these crashes and deaths are, Dr. Ajulo brave example is worth emulating.