By Sunday Okobi
The Nigeria Transportation Commissioners Forum (NTCF) has lent its support for the restriction of movement of heavy-duty vehicles during the day to reduce the upsurge in road accidents reported across the country.
This is coming on the heels of the unfortunate incident of July 26, 2020, where two young people, Miss Chidinma Ajoku and Mr. Chima Nnaekpe, who both worked in the commercial department, Hajj and cargo terminal at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), died while three others were injured when a 20-feet container fell on a commercial bus at Ilasamaja on the Oshodi – Apapa expressway, Lagos State.
In a statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of NTCF, Hon. Mustapha Jika, the forum observed with dismay the increase in road accidents caused by defective/ poorly modified heavy-duty vehicles and unruly drivers, adding that “this is why today, we are requesting for a policy document to stop these vehicles from plying the roads during the day.
“It is in consideration for the motoring public and the protection of our shared assets; the roads and the environment that we address this issue of public safety concern. This call has been made to prevent these dangerous but preventable accidents by requesting support from the President Muhammadu Buhari and all state governors in the country.
“Over the years, activities of the heavy-duty vehicles operators during the daytime have been unfavorable to traffic management and predictability, and routinely caused fatal accidents on the highways. These are major causes of needless delays and are major safety and security risks for all road users.
“Having carefully conducted a forensic analysis of the dangers of allowing heavy-duty vehicles to ply the roads during the daytime, we seek the support of all enforcement agencies in restricting the activities of truck drivers to the evening/ midnight belt of the day.”
Jika added in the statement that: “This action will ride on the policy papers that will permanently stop heavy-duty vehicles from plying the roads across the states during the day. Each of the states should come up with a policy statement to address this sensitive issue. This will be backed with a national policy paper that will complement the efforts of the various states and help to prosecute willful and serial offenders.
“We are optimistic that these policies, when effected, will reduce the pressure for heavy-duty vehicle drivers to compete with other commuters during work hours. Restricting their activities will ease traffic congestion and manage effectively, accessibility to the roads during peak hours.”
The Forum added: “In addition, we call for renewed enforcement for the mandatory and statutory audit of heavy-duty Vehicles to reduce the number of accidents associated with oversize and overweight violations by these vehicles.”
“We seek full compliance with the laws and regulations governing the mandatory audit of these vehicles to ensure the safety of the public and also protect the economic interests of the operators. Total compliance to the prescribed regulation will protect our infrastructure and keep the economy. All heavy-duty vehicles must be certified fit to carry the measure of products or goods intended for transport across the country.”