Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria Sunday, August 13, 2017 - Page 16

Sunday 16 opinion High road accident deaths upsetting August 13, 2017 F AR too many Nigerians are dying needlessly on the roads. The latest numbers from the National Bureau of Statistics depict an epidemic. In its half-year report, the NBS says that at least 2,673 people died in automobile accidents between January and June 2017. This is upsetting, as Nigerians deserve safer roads. To achieve this, the Federal Road Safety Commission needs to enforce the extant traffic rules without partiality. Traffic accident deaths are a serious public safety issue here. Apart from the Boko Haram insurgency, the Federal Ministry of Health estimates that car crashes are the second leading cause of violent death in Nigeria. The NBS figure implies that an average of 15 persons die every day on our roads. In the first quarter, 1,466 died from 2,556 accidents; there were 1,207 deaths from 2,503 accidents in Q2. This ranks Nigeria among the countries with the highest road carnage in the world, says the FRSC. Worse, the crisis shows no sign of a let-up. On Saturday, a dawn accident involving a lone commercial luxury bus claimed three lives on the Benin-Lokoja Expressway. Fifty passengers, including a child, were injured. A 2015 report by the World Health Organisation said one in four car crash deaths in Africa occurred in Nigeria. “Car crash deaths have a higher toll than malaria,” WHO said. Some victims are maimed for life; others are gruesomely burnt to ashes. In all, 18,353 people sustained injuries in road crashes between 2009 and 2013. Financially, the toll is very heavy. The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, notes that the country loses N80 billion to road crashes annually. For those with life- threatening injuries, this is devastating in a country with poor health facilities. The FRSC says the major causes of crashes in Nigeria are over-speeding, error of judgement when overtaking; violations like facing oncoming traffic (“one-way”) and untrained drivers. The non-use of seat belt is costly. 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