ROAD SAFETY ARTICLE
At the Second African Road Safety Conference in 2011 convened by the Economic Commission for Africa,the African Road Safety Action Plan 2011-2020 was formulated and endorsed subsequently by the African Union Confenerce of Ministers in charge of Transport and adopted by the heads of States in Luanda,in 2012.As at today the progress made is minimal across board.As we gradually sail into the last lap of 2019,the reluctance by players in the economy to appreciate the need to become active in road safety strategies despite efforts by the Corps remains a challenge in addition to the increasing bad driving habits listed at the beginning. There is also the concern over inadequacy of emergencies along our roads. Along major highways, it will take almost an hour or two drives before stumbling on a hospital. Remember that even where these hospitals exist, you may be further tasked to pay for a card at a hospital while the victim is left unattended to. I am however humbled by the fruits of the World Bank partnership with the Corps which has helped in the current fleet of ambulance services through what we code name,zebra even though we still yearn for more to ease our response time to road traffic crashes in keeping with our mandate to rid the highways of road traffic crashes and deaths.
All of these including the issues of funding, logistics compound the efforts of the commission to save lives. We are not talking about the state of our roads which might not get the same level of attention because of dwindling resources despite the effort of government which like I maintained earlier deserves our commendation. Since land transportation remains the most preferred mode, we all need to pray and give government all the support to achieve this dream because the key to safety on our roads is infrastructural improvement.
This point was made when I once stated that the success of effective road safety is capital. Globally the interplay between government, the private sector and the citizen is the magic.
In such societies, they have learnt how to reduce road traffic injuries even as traffic levels rise through system approach, which tackles driver behavior, vehicle design and performance and the safety of road infrastructure. So, while government battles road infrastructure, the private sector and other stakeholders including safety practitioner would be expected to play ball by giving Mr. President all the support necessary in the area of drivers behavior while those in the motor business must desist from flooding the market with vehicle whose safety standard fall beyond global standards.
However, as road users we must sharpen our safety consciousness by making the choices to redress this projection. Before I round up, I believe I owe readers a small story to underscore the reality of the dangers we face daily.It is the story of a women who flew from the United kingdom for six hours and arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport,Abuja without a hitch.
However, because of the busy schedule of the husband she took a taxi from the airport from the heart of the city. Shortly after the driver took off, the heavens poured its blessing. While it was raining, visibility became very poor. Rather than pull off and park, the driver continued the driving not knowing that there was a broken truck. He crashes onto the truck and the women who failed to buckle up despite buckling up in the place for six hours who thrown forward from her seat. She died on the spot leaving a mourning husband and family.