In the last four years, accidents caused by tankers or trailer drivers across the country have become unprecedented as it has led to unexpected death of so many Nigerians.
According to the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), over 3,200 Nigerians have so far been killed by truck accidents while 12,474 people were injured in the year under review.
These accidents according to report were caused by fatigue, lack of sleep and lack of proper resting place for truck drivers. So, to stop this carnage, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) had last week began a sensitisation rally themed Truck Transit Parks: A Panacea for Crash Free Haulage Operation in Nigeria.
Under the Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s Truck Transit Parks (TTPs) project, the following locations have been identified for the establishment of TTPs: Port Novo Creek, Lagos state; Ogere, Ogun state; Onitsha, Anambra state; Mararaban Jos, Kaduna state; and Lokoja, Kogi state.
Others are: Obollo Afor, Enugu state; Benin Bypass, Edo state; Aviele, Edo state, Ilele, Sokoto state and Ore, Ondo state.
According to the Shippers’ Council, a modern park has already been developed at Ore (Sunshine City) in collaboration with the Ondo state government.
Speaking, the executive secretary of the NSC, Barr Hassan Bello said about 41 per cent of articulated truck accidents were caused by fatigue. According to him, the TTPs are resting places designed to provide temporary rest place for drivers.
He said, “It has been discovered that the main problems drivers complain about is 39 per cent fatigue related while the main causes of road crashes is 41 per cent fatigue related. This is because most drivers sleep for just 4hours in every 24hours. This underscores the fact that safe and clean truck stops are needed.”
The Shippers’ Council boss stated that the TTPs is one of the 114 Agriculture and Transportation project under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) focus labs that was organised by Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Bello who urged truck drivers to patronise the functional Sunshine City TTP in Ondo, said additional 10 TTPs are being built across the country.
He also said that the rally was an achievement of one of the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two agencies in November 2017. “The NSC project on Truck Transit Park is one of the 114 Agriculture and Transportation Project under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) focus labs that was organised by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning,” he said.
“The obligations of NSC included setting bench mark in terms of tariffs, standards and real time service to ensure that the 3Rs of Shipping, Rapid, Reliable and Reasonable movement of cargoes, was adhered to.”
The NSC boss said that the Council also had the obligation to ensure best practices in the shipping and transport industry, hence the sensitisations on TTP to reduce road carnage.
Bello stated further that, “The NSC’s partnership with the FRSC is to ensure that smooth movement of goods were facilitated though the use of Truck Transit Parks. A TTP is a public rest area located off a highway, designed to provide temporary rest area for truck drivers. TTPs are primarily intended for short-term safety breaks and also long-term parking services in high-use corridors.
“It has been discovered that the main problems drivers complain about is 39 per cent fatigue-related, while the main causes of road crashes is 41 per cent fatigue-related. This is because most drivers sleep for just about four hours in every 24 hours,” he said.
Also speaking, Akin Makinde, the director, Inland Transportation Services of NSC, said that the meeting was one of the stages in the implementation of the TTP in the country to reduce loss of lives and property on highways.
“We want to put in place truck transit parks at various interval along our highways so that tankers and trucks drivers will not have to drive more than four hours before resting.
“We have discovered that most of the accidents on the road are because most drivers don’t rest. They just drive from the ports straight to Maiduguri and other places. The fatigue can make anything to happen on the way. Also, sometimes they (drivers of articulated vehicle) park along the road and block the road. That is why we are implementing the TTP,” Makinde said.
According to him, for the truck, tanker and other long distance drivers to use these parks, the NSC want them to know and key into the project in order to enhance voluntary compliance.
Makinde noted that the sensitisation would be replicated in Abuja, Enugu and Ore in Ondo state.
“By the time we do all these sensitisations, if anybody does not comply, then we can start enforcement. The project is for the drivers’ good, the good of the society and for our economy,” he added.
The corps marshal of FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi confirmed the death of 3,200 Nigerians that have died from truck accidents caused by articulated vehicles – tankers and trailers- across the country in the last four years. Oyeyemi said 3,226 tankers and trailers were affected between 2015 -2018.
While presenting a paper tagged, ‘Improving Road Safety In Haulage Operations Through Truck Transit Scheme”, he attributed the crash to driver’s fatigue, over speeding and drunk driving which he said would be addressed if the TTPs come to being.
He said, “From 2015 to 2019, 3,226 articulated accidents have led to death of 3200 Nigerians while 12,474 were wounded.”
Giving details, he said, “979 persons were killed in 2015, 910 in 2016, 737 in 2017 and 574 in 2018. Establishment of TTPs is key towards improving road safety and security of cargo. Statistics showed that the country has recorded several cases of road traffic crashes involving tankers/trailers from haulage business with causes ranging from driver’s fatigue, over speeding and drinking while driving. These have triggered the idea of TTPs for drivers to properly take care of themselves while on transit.”
Oyeyemi, who described the project as apt and timely, said that the FRSC would continue to do its best in reducing road traffic crashes and fatalities. Oyeyemi, who was represented by the assistant corps marshal, Victor Nwokolo, said that the corps would continue to tackle enforcement of rules and regulations, including the TTP whenever it starts.
According to him, the TTP requires a multi-facet enforcement that involves the FRSC and other para-military agencies to achieve the desired results.
On the challenge of underage driving raised by some stakeholders, Oyeyemi, who noted that the Highway Code was clear about it, said that the FRSC had been clamping down on the offenders.
The corps marshal, who said that road safety was everybody’s business, urged operators in the haulage operations to adopt self-regulation strategies for adequate safety on roads.