The Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, has reduced accidents on the nation’s highways by 89 per cent since its inception 30 years ago, according to its Spokesman, Bisi Kazeem.
Mr Kazeem stated this in an article titled, “30 Years of Unbroken Service to Humanity: FRSC and the Daunting Task of Lead Agency in Africa” to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Corps.
The defunct military administration of Ibrahim Babangida set up the FRSC on February 18, 1988 through Decree 45.
The decree metamorphosed into the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007 currently in force, after receiving a series of legislative actions over the years.
Mr Kazeem, who is also the Corps Public Education Officer, stated that the agency had justified its establishment by reducing accidents from 40,881 in 1976 alone to 4,418 in 2017, representing 89 per cent decrease.
He said, “The Corps has now come of age after going through good times and tides.
“In its 30-year journey, it recorded, for instance, a commendable 62.4 per cent reduction in crash from 40,881 in 1976 to 25,792 within its first operational year alone.
“In this regard, it is instructive to state that the Corps has doggedly fought road traffic crashes from the unacceptable 40,881 of 1976 down to 5,993 in 2016 and 4,418 in 2017.
“The statistics above shows that the Corps is gaining grounds accordingly.”
Mr Kazeem said that before the FRSC was established, the World Health Organisation, WHO, had rated Nigeria as the second most dangerous country in the world to drive a motor vehicle behind Ethiopia.
He said the FRSC was established in conformity with the lead agency concept recommended by the United Nations and the WHO.
The concept is about member nations dedicating an agency of government to lead in road safety management as a best practice to combat the scourge of road accidents and attendant deaths/injuries.
“Through the use of state-of-the-art information technology facilities, the Corps has been able to enhance its operational capacity aimed at promoting public safety and security.
“In compliance with the ease of doing business, the Corps has over three decades designed and operated 24 web applications for its operational activities so as to create an accessible platform for the general public.
“Some of these applications cover the Uniform Licensing Scheme, under which is the One Driver One Record.
“This enables FRSC to track and match records of drivers with their drivers licence, vehicle number plates, traffic offences and others in a single view.
“Others are: introduction of the toll-free emergency number (122) and establishment of a 24-hour call centre to reduce response time for crash victims,” he said.
According to him, the emergency number and call centre have reduced the agency’s response time from 50 minutes to 15 minutes, thereby reducing fatalities in accidents.
Mr Kazeem listed other initiatives to include introduction of a portal for the verification of driver’s licence and number plates, and the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme, RTSSS, for uniformity and harmonisation of fleet operators in the country.
Others are: Introduction of the Driving School Standardisation Scheme, DSSP; the speed limiting device in February, 2017, and the vehicle tracking system, among others.
The Spokesperson noted that the Operation Cobra exercise introduced by the Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, in July to check life-threatening offences, contributed largely to the significant decline in accidents recorded in 2017.
“On the global scene, FRSC takes leadership role of West African Road Safety Organisation, WARSO, as part of measures to scale up the bar on road safety management within the West African region.
“Further to this, the Corps has provided technical assistance to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia and so on.
“It has secured implementation of a robust engagement with international organisations for capacity building including the World Bank’s Safe Corridor Project.
“The Corps has also made Nigeria the first African country to be admitted into the International Traffic Safety Data analysis group, IRTAD,” Kazeem added.
Mr Kazeem closed with a number of recommendations to enhance safety on the nation’s highways.
He urged the country to consider adopting the G-8 summit resolution in Nigeria, which prescribes the dedication of 10 per cent of road contracts to safety components.
He also called for a strong legal framework to enhance the agency’s capacity to enforce traffic rules and regulations.
“Improved funding backed with a strong political will and concerted sustained efforts across a range of sectors will, no doubt, put Nigeria on the same pedestal with other nations across the globe.
“Acting now will lead to a realistic reduction to 2.0 deaths per 10,000 vehicles by 20,” the FRSC spokesperson said.