October 1 deadline for speed limiters: FRSC takes sensitisation campaign round Nigeria

Cross section of the public and FRSC officials during the sensitisation campaign.

October 1 is Nigeria’s Independence Day anniversary. But aside the celebration of the nation’s freedom from colonial rule, a significant step that is aimed at reducing carnages on Nigerian roads is being taken by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) through the implementation of the installation of speed limiter device. The day has been slated for the start of enforcement of the use of the device by road users.

This was emphasised by the Corps Marshall of the FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, on Friday, September 9 in Ibadan, Oyo State at the premises of the state command at Eleiyele, Ibadan, during a stakeholders’ meeting and sensitisation campaign on speed limiters for vehicles and the kick-off date. Present at the meeting were different organisations involved in transport business.

According to the Corps Marshall, who was represented by the Corps Legal Adviser Legal, Barrister Wole Olaniran, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, particularly chose October 1, which is the Independence Day in Nigeria as appropriate for its kick-off to indicate independence from fatal and serious road traffic crashes.

In his address at the event, the Corps Marshall appreciated the support that the stakeholders had been giving FRSC and the programmes it had been introducing in the course of implementing its mandate to make the roads safer.

Boboye said that though all were aware of the state of roads in Nigeria and government’s efforts towards rehabilitating them, the people still needed assistance to move on the road more safely to their destinations. This, he added, prompted the idea of speed limiters, in view of the former approach such as the use of speed cameras or speed radar guns which was merely reactive, as the motorists would have over-sped.

The Corps Marshall said that the introduction of installation of speed limiter device in all vehicles plying Nigerian roads was decided to prevent deadly crashes.

On the reason behind the decision, he disclosed that the Departments of Research and Corps Safety Engineering had been analysing the trend of RTC for the past few years, the outcome of which was the recurring factor of over-speeding by motorists. It does not only lead to crashes but aggravates the impact when there is one, which leads to fatalities and serious injuries to the people.

“As a result, the FRSC had to hold meetings with other relevant agencies and stakeholders, including the transport unions, The NSE, SON, professional bodies, the National Automobile Design and Development Council to address the incidences of fatal crashes occasioned by over-speeding,” Boboye added..

He recalled that the implementation was to take effect in April 2015 but the National Assembly asked the FRSC to come and justify the implementation at that particular time. When the obstacle was crossed, he said that a civil society organisation also came up with a suit which was also handled by the court, with the FRSC given the go-ahead.

Boboye emphasised the need for stakeholders to support the policy, which is meant to save Nigerians, saying: “With the speed limiter, there is no way you can exceed the calibrated speed on the vehicle, no matter how hard you press the accelerator. This means that we are going to cut over-speed and fatal crashes will be drastically reduced. This in turn makes the roads safer for all and improves life standard.”

He urged the operators of inter-state and inter-city transports, the first categories to kick-start the implementation, to make sure that they install the speed limiter in their vehicles before October 1. He also reminded them that they should note the ember months and be more careful and safety-conscious while using the roads.

Speaking on tyres, he said many have died in road traffic crashes because of expired, over-inflated or under-inflated tyres. The Corps Marshall enjoined vehicle owners to avoid buying Tokunbo tyres because many of them had usually expired before they were brought in.  He assured that the FRSC would build the capacity of vulcanisers by organising training for the, thereby  educating them on technical ways of handling tyres.

In his welcome address, the sector commander, Mr Salami Yusuff said that the sensitisation meeting is part of the final lap of the campaign on speed limiters. He said that the Corps Marshall sent principal officers from the FRSC headquarters to go to various geo-political zones in Nigeria. Yusuff said this was to further create awareness so that people would make sure that they comply with the regulation before the enforcement date.

At an earlier sensitisation meeting held on August 30, the Oyo State head of operations, Mr Olusegun Martins, in his presentation, listed three causes of road traffic crashes as human, mechanical and environment. Out of the three, he said that the human cause is the most critical factor of the causes and takes about 90 percent.

“This is because the activities of man in controlling locomotives and vehicles serve as a very important factor and through their acts, whether by omission or commission, has increased the rate of fatalities through impatience, drug abuse, stress, over-speeding, road accident immunity delusion, dangerous overtaking. All these factors cause a lot of fatalities, so we thought that if you cannot control man, you control the vehicle being used by man; and that takes us to speed limiters,” he stated further.

Enlightening the stakeholders, the Head of Operations said: “In Nigeria, the maximum speed is 100 km per hour, which is 28 metres per second. And if you look at the width of our roads, with a little slip or problem like a tyre burst, you will veer off the road at a distance of about 14 or 16 metres in a second on a road that is 12 metres wide. If speed does not cause road traffic crashes, it makes it more fatal.

“That is why we stress on speed. If man cannot control his speed, then there must be a device to do that, hence the introduction of speed limiter. By FRSC acts, part of our functions and objectives is to ensure regulation and monitoring of speed of vehicles on Nigerian roads.

“FRSC Act Section 10, subsection 3N. If you also look at national road traffic regulation section 152, subsection 4-6, it empowers FRSC to determine, regulate and control the speed of all motor vehicles on our roads. This is the essence of coming out with speed limiter.

“It is also called speed governor as it controls the speed of a vehicle when it is programmed. The programming depends on the density of the place, the type of road, housing density etc. It is the experts who will do the fixing; we are just enforcers to ensure that speed is reduced,” he said.

He listed the advantages of speed limiters to include reduced finances in terms of reduction in fuel consumption and cost of vehicle maintenance, reduction in fatalities on the road and second hand value the vehicle would have whenever the owner wants to dispose of it.

One of the vendors, Mrs Omolola Lamidi, who is the Managing Director of Ominet Technologies, said that the device is of different categories, with those that have other functions aside speed limiting, adding that the price would be determined by the type chosen by vehicle owners.

Mrs Lamidi who addressed the stakeholders pointed out that the exchange rate of dollar to naira had affected importation cost but assured that the companies would try its best to make the prices affordable, saying that those who buy in large volume, especially fleet operators, would be given discount.

Present at the sensitization and stakeholders’ meeting were the Zonal Commanding Officer, Mr Austin Aipoh; the state Coordinator of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Engineer Dele Ayeni; Mrs Enitan Onabajo, who represented the Federal Controller, Ministry of Works; Engr (Mrs) Modinat Oduola who represented the Oyo State Commissioner of Works and Transport; Comrade Taiwo Adesanya who represented the chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the chairman of Oyo State Road Transport Management Agency (OYRTMA), Colonel ….  (rtd); Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) as well as representatives of different fleet operators and transport unions.