The unregulated influx of fairly used tyres into the country has not stopped being a source of worry to agencies like the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) which has appealed to its sister agency, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), to step up its operations to address the trend. FRSC, in turn, has acknowledged publicly that poor quality of tyres was a major contributory factor to high accident rate in the country. The need to tackle this problem becomes even more urgent as the ‘Ember’ months that precede the yuletide festivities, a season that poses a great challenge to road users and traffic managers, set in.
SON is concerned that despite the dangers inherent in the use of fairly used tyres, some of which are already expired even at the time they are bought, many motorists still find them attractive and emphasised the need for the FRSC to expand its operational frontiers to tackle the influx of the fairly used tyres into the country as part of efforts towards reducing road crashes in the country.
The fears expressed by SON are not unfounded. That a huge majority of vehicles plying Nigeria’s roads use already used tyres is a well-known fact. Fairly used tyres or ‘tokunbo’ as they are popularly called in local parlance, are a first choice for many motorists in the country today, especially among commercial motorists. The reason is not far-fetched. Fairly used tyres are popular for their cost, considering the economic situation in the country. Investigations show that they are sometimes sold at half the cost of new tyres, a practice that is akin to penny wise pound foolish.
Apart from fairly used tyres, expired tyres are also a major risk factor in road accidents in the country. Many accidents resulting from burst tyres while driving could be traced to expired tyres used by the vehicles.
Vehicle tyres are very important components in driving; they are the part of the vehicle that come in direct contact with the road surface, hence the need to ensure that only good tyres are used. Many people have lost their lives in unfortunate road crashes due to use of tyres that are expired and no longer safe and investigations have sometimes shown that many crashes caused by burst tyres etc could be traced to fairly used and expired tyres used by the motorists at the time of the accident.
While we note that it would amount to subjugation of its duties for SON, the body saddled with the duty of ensuring standards to be crying out over something it should control, we also note that it is imperative that the FRSC takes the charge from SON seriously and steps up advocacy against the use of fairly used and expired tyres. Many motorists are ignorant of the fact that tyres do expire and so, some even buy brand new tyres that are already expired or near their expiration dates. Sensitisation must also be carried out in this regard to educate motorists on what tyres to buy and not to buy. In addition to these, there ought to be concerted efforts by all concerned agencies including SON and the Nigeria Customs, to see to it that the importation of already used tyres into the country is checked.
In our opinion, used tyres or expired ones are accidents waiting to happen. The danger is that no one knows who will be affected by the accident which in most cases can and do involve more than one vehicle with the attendant injuries not to talk of loss of lives. It is a very serious matter and must be treated as such.