Between implementation of speed limiter and zero tolerance for accident
While other requirements are allowed within built up areas like streets in towns, villages and cities, FRSC said it intends to begin the enforcement with commercial vehicle and would proritise compliance above fine as way of fighting over speeding in the country.
Nigeria is ranked worst by World Health Organisation (WHO) for road accidents as statistic showed that speed accounts for above 50 per cent of road crashes in the country.
In 2013 alone, about 6,450 Nigerians, including 4552 men, 1398 women, 299 boys and 201 girls lost their lives on roads across the country, while many others were left incapacitated. Between 2010 and 2014, lives of 1, 903 children were cut short. No fewer than 12,077 road crashes were recorded in the country in 2015, in which 5,400 people died. Between January and August this year, road crashes already left 3,048 people dead.
A speed limiter or governor is an electronic device attached to vehicle to regulate speed and do not allow the driver to accelerate beyond pre-set speed limit thereby reducing the risk of an accident.
The FRSC through its Establishment Act (2007) and the National Road Traffic Regulation 2012 has constitutional power to enforce use of speed limiting device on vehicles in Nigeria. Section 10, sub section (m) of the (Establishment) Act, 2007 empowered the agency to determine and enforce speed limits for all categories of roads and vehicles and controlling the use of speed limiting devices.
The agency said the initiatives, which is in compliance with Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) mandate and United Nations Decade of Action against road crashes, would not only reduce crashes resulting from excessive speed, but would go a long way to reduce fuel consumption, save cost of repair and fatality to the barest minimal.
Generally, most people in Nigeria agreed that drivers, particularly commercial motorists over speed, despite the pitiable state of roads across the country and as such measures that would reduce speed and safe lives must be encouraged but they insist that a holistic initiative that would make Nigerians instill the culture of zero tolerance against road crashes, lost of lives and properties must be proritised.
“In Sweden for example, as good and safe as the roads are, the maximum allowed speed is 110-120km/hr and this is enforced automatically,” safety advocate, Adeyemi Adedokun, who earlier criticised the policy told The Guardian, stressing it was necessary if it would eventually curb over-speeding in Nigeria.
According to him, there is the need for some kind of speed limiting enforcement and education, however, a long-term plan, a transparent implementation and impact assessment studies must be scheduled for evaluation.
The need for good driver’s training institutions, public enlightenment, speed radar guns adequate road signs and of speed calming measures in road design and construction, firm enforcement and other related challenges remained crucial to reducing accident figure in Nigeria, experts said.
While some organisations in Nigeria, including private transport companies have existing policies on speed and some already have speed limiter installed in their vehicles, The Guardian gathered that the policies are not always held fast as some drivers said their passengers are not patient enough.
National President of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Musa Isiwele had urged the agency not to be selective in the planned issuance of speed-limiters to vehicles, particularly to address over speeding by top government officials, who regularly disobey traffic rules.
Isiwele had advised that all categories of vehicles must be mandated to have speed-limiters, with the exclusion of only security and fire service vehicles and hospital ambulances because of the peculiar nature of their assignments.
To him, if certain categories of vehicles, apart from those for security and other special services, are exempted, armed robbers and kidnappers might take advantage of that to pursue and overtake them to unleash their evil motives on their victims.
Initially the device was to be sold for about N25, 000, but considering the slump in the value of the naira and other factors, investigation showed that the device may sell from N35, 000 to N45, 000, depending on vehicle model and brand.
FRSC, which has published about 38 list of accredited vendors of the device, said the Corps has no intention of limiting the scope of procuring the device or specifying who to purchase from, adding that standards and specifications as prescribed by the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) which it worked with in the development of the policy must however, be fulfilled and enforced.
“The policy on the use of the speed limiters device was carefully enunciated based on expert advice of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria; the National Automotive Design and Development Council as well as stakeholders’ support as a way of addressing the challenges of speed-related road carnage in the country. It is our hope that with the 1st October 2016 enforcement date approved by the President, relevant stakeholders would join hands to make the implementation successful,” FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi stated.