Nigerians, in their thousands, lose their lives or sustain life-threatening injuries as a result of preventable accidents which are usually blamed on bad roads but which really are more as a result of excessive speeding on the highways. This is why the enforcement of speed limit through the use of a speed limiting device is an absolute emergency and should be made compulsory.
A speed limiter or speed-limiting device is one used to check the speed of a vehicle by disallowing the vehicle the ability to accelerate beyond pre-set speed limit. Apart from safety reasons, the speed limiter has socio-economic advantages one of which is obviously the preservation of road users from deaths and maiming associated with speed induced crashes. The speed limiter will also assist individuals and businesses to save costs on maintenance, fuel consumption, and slow down depreciation.
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has, in the Act establishing it, the regulation on compulsory use of speed limiting device on vehicles in Nigeria. The National Road Traffic Regulation (NRTR, B173-B303) of 2004, Part Vll –Use and Construction, Section 53, sub -section (6), Part Vlll – Driving, Section 79 Sub-section (a) and others are all explicit on the issue of compulsory use of speed limiters by motorists.
Speed is a key risk factor in road traffic accidents with high influence on rates and severity of crashes and consequent injuries and fatalities. At high speed, a driver’s response time is unduly increased resulting in low ability to steer out of danger on the road while also extending distance required to stop a vehicle. This extension also increases risk of somersaults and collision with stationary objects.
Moreover, speed limiters will engender compliance with the ECOWAS mandate, fulfilment of the Corps statutory functions through good practice. Enforcing the use of speed limiter is engendering of world best practice in driving, sanitising our roads and puting our road users on good behaviour. Old strategies such as drivers’ education, provision of speed calming measures in the design and construction of roads have not had the desired impact neither has our bad roads, which should naturally provide speed breakers. The next best thing would therefore be the compulsory installation of speed limiters that would limit inappropriate speeding. Inappropriate speed means driving at a speed unsuitable for prevailing conditions of road and traffic.
In our opinion, the idea of speed limiters is long overdue in our society especially as we seem oblivious of the dangers on our roads. The SUVs, luxury cars and, indeed, other movable mechanical devices do not have the perfect mechanism to protect us against maiming and deaths but we can help ourselves by complying with the provisions made available to us.
It is pertinent to emphasise that it is in the interest of all that speeding usually accused as a cause of accidents is removed so that attention can be squarely focussed on the other factors that also make travelling on the highways a risky prospect.
But come to think of it, whose lives are the authorities trying to save by insisting on checking excessive speeding on the nation’s highways? We have had occasions where whole families perish in road accidents caused, evidently, by over-speeding. Such heart-rending misfortunes can be mitigated by taking the necessary precautions. Vehicles, regardless of their sophistication, are made by human beings and are susceptible to the imperfections of human nature. If we bear this in mind always, then, we will see the pertinence of cooperating with measures being put in place to enhance the efficiency of those machines as well as take full advantage of the comfort and pleasure they are designed to bring to us the users.