March 21, 2023

Celebrating Excellence & Integrity


Road Safety: It Takes Only Few Seconds

Sometime in 2017, I was privileged to be deployed to Jos, the Plateau State capital. The deployment was one of my best for several reasons. First it gave me the opportunity to work in an environment I had desired for long live to live and work. Secondly, it afforded me the privilege to worship at the House on the Rock (DESTINY PLACE), under the set man, Papa Yusuf Akila. Thirdly, in Jos, I made and met friends. I also met brethren in the course of worshipping God in DESTINY PLACE. These acquaintances have played significant roles in my Christian life as well as in my career as a road safety officer. Lastly, the visit to Jos, was a divine precursor to my participation in 2019 in a unique course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos.

It’s been over four years since the first visit. While I reflect on the brief but impactful working experience, Tuesday, 14th November, 2017, will always remain special in my work of saving lives. On that day, I was driving along Rayfield, in Jos the Plateau State capital, when I cited a man in his late forties driving close to Atiku junction for those very familiar with Rayfield. Sitting beside the man on the front passenger seat, was a woman whom I suspect to be his wife.

Two risky driving behavior of the man caught my attention .On the lap of the woman (mother) was a little boy of about four years despite the warning that children within that age should not sit in the front, rather they should be properly strapped in a car seat. Despite this unsafe habit of transporting the 4years child, the man (father) was equally holding his phone with one hand while answering a call which was the second risky driving behavior.

My attempt to call him to order was rebuffed as he continued answering his calls and zoomed off. I had to fight the temptation of a chase to avoid a possible crash that would expose both the driver and other road users to unnecessary risk. However, when I got home I kept pondering on why parents or guardians indulge in the use of Phone while driving which is a distracted driving habit. Today I wish to again remind people like the man I cited in Jos, and others who indulge in distracted driving behavior to always reflect on the road traffic crashes statistics which states that about 650 people are killed each day in road crashes throughout Africa, Nigeria inclusive
[3/19, 15:38] emekamorganuwandu: Let me also drew our attention to the concern raised by the United Nations , on the projected increase in urbanization, motorization, infrastructure development projects and vehicle ownership in the region over the coming decades and the attendant road traffic fatalities and injuries that will continue to take a rising toll on the continent if no significant changes are made.

Arising from these, observers among other interventions recommend implementing basic laws such as use of seat belts and helmets, child safety seats, as well as prohibiting drunk drivers which was my focus last week

These observers in keeping with the tone of the global body also re-echoed the need to have a national vision and leadership. Other recommendations include placing more resources in collecting data, which is imperative in the development of strategies. According to experts, reliable data is needed to achieve the Decade of Action for Road Safety, and the Sustainable Development Goals, which include a target calling for road fatalities and injuries to be halved by 2030, and another target related to safe and affordable access to sustainable transport systems for all by 2030.
[3/19, 15:39] emekamorganuwandu: Having refreshed your memory with these facts and realities, let me bring you back to the focus on the need to guard against distracted driving as contained in the Park your phone while on the road being run by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile( FIA). The UN Special Envoy Mr Jean Todt who is also the President of FIA summed up this concern when he noted that “Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians need to understand the dangers of using smartphones in traffic. According to him, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians need to understand the dangers of using smartphones in traffic. To combat the 3,500 lives lost every day in road accidents, I urge all road users to park their phones when they are in traffic” as only a few seconds of distraction can make a difference between life and death.
[3/19, 15:39] emekamorganuwandu: The campaign aims at encouraging responsible smartphone use in traffic. His concern was supported by the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc who equally spoke on the dangers of distracted driving especially driving and using the phone noting that “with smartphones becoming more popular than ever, it seems increasingly difficult to take our eyes off the screen. In fact, distracted driving is the cause of a growing number of road deaths and injuries. It is vital that we keep our attention on the road.

As Transport Commissioner, road safety is one of my ongoing priorities and a simple way to reduce accidents is to keep your eyes on the road and off your smartphone. He therefore urged all road users to park your phone and keep the road safe.” Other speakers shared their concern as he said that, “Europe has done a lot to improve safety, be it on technical improvements of the vehicles, better training for road users or infrastructure. But new technologies, such as smart phones and tablets, bring about new challenges. They noted that the campaign encourages everyone to remember that a moment of distraction can be fatal. This campaign reminds road users of the many distractions that crosses their path on a daily basis and encourages everyone to parkYourPhone and remain focused on the road while in traffic.

The campaign targets motorists such as drivers, pedestrians and cyclists putting themselves at risk by using phones in traffic. Such users are encouraged to stay focused on the road. They hope to raise awareness about distraction and the dangers of being distracted. The campaign seeks to raise more awareness about distraction and show dangers of being distracted. I know that some readers would dismiss my appeal to ovoid distraction on the wheel, but I hope they remember that in a clime such as the United States daily, approximately 660,000 drivers are attempting to use the phones while driving. The Nigerian figure is as bad as what obtains in other climes.

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