Nigerians who access the internet were greeted with the gory pictures of victims of a tragic road traffic accident involving a commercial bus owned by a fleet operator and a truck which occurred on Sunday, May 22, along Umuahia-Okigwe road in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. Bodies of passengers were wedged between the vehicles which had a head-on collision while others thrown out of the commercial bus were strewn across the road.
With the comments of people when the story and pictures of the incident were posted, it was evident that the Federal Road Safety Corps has a lot to do with fleet operators, especially as road constitutes 80 percent of transportation in Nigeria.
It was in line with this that the Oyo State Command of the FRSC recently held a one-day workshop for fleet operators in the state to sensitise them on the enforcement of specific areas of Road Transport Safety Standard Scheme (RTSSS).
The workshop with the theme “Actualisation of the Corps Mandate on RTSSS Standards”, held at the FRSC office at Eleiyele, Ibadan, had representatives of several fleet operators in attendance. Among the attendees were Imo Transport Company, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, Pacesetter Transport Company, Union of Tippers and Quarry Employers of Nigeria, haulage companies and Bovas and Company Limited, among others.
In his welcome address, the Corps Head of Operations, Mr Segun Martins, who represented the Sector Commander, said the Corps’ mandate is to expand and cover operators that are having more than three vehicles against the initial that targeted operators having more than five vehicles.
“We are extending the number to reduce the rate of road traffic crashes. The workshop is one of our enlightenment programmes that are organized to sensitise and reawaken them to their responsibilities and to gear them to tell them the implication of not complying with the rules of the standard safety scheme. The forum is equally used to issue the certificates to those who have fully complied in 2015.
”The goal is to get them prepared and improve n their existing standard. They should ensure that they train and retrain their safety managers every year. We use this to sensitise those who have not registered to register their safety managers and ensure that they participate so as to improve their performances,” Mr Martins stated.
Speaking on the FRSC mandate on RTSSS, an Assistant Corps Commander, Henry Salami stated that Sections 197-202 of NRTR 2012 empower the FRSC on the scheme. He added that the scheme makes it compulsory for all fleet operators, whether private, corporate or government transport companies with at least three vehicles to be properly registered and regulated to improve the safety of their operations in the transport sub-sector of the economy.
Salami said that the RTSSS is implemented through public education and enlightenment of stakeholders, creation of database for all registered companies to enable the commission to have necessary information for planning, regulation, certification and monitoring of all registered relevant companies to ensure better road usage, as well as continuous inspection, assessment certification and de-certification of relevant companies and organization in accordance with the set standards.
Salami also highlighted FRSC’s expectation from the fleet operators to include the establishment of functional safety units headed by qualified competent safety managers, provision of standard terminals in locations that will not lead to congestion, standard recruitment policy, training and retraining of drivers, comprehensive vehicle maintenance policy and implementation of approved passengers’ manifest, among others.
In his own address, the Route Commander, RTSSS, Mr Femi Adeyemo enjoined all fleet operators to key into the scheme, as violation would attract prosecution.
He listed some of the violations that would attract penalty as failure to register with RTSSS, conduct annual training of safety managers and drivers, participate in the annual certification of fleet operators nationwide, prepare and implement safety policy for company, implement approved passengers’ manifest, appoint qualified safety manager and observe rest periods for drivers on transit, among others.
Adeyemo concluded by saying that the FRSC would be ready to prosecute any fleet operator that fails to comply with RTSSS standards. At the end of the workshop, certificates were presented to certified fleet operators who went through training in 2015.