The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi has tasked owners of heavy duty trucks in the country on the need to strictly adhere to the minimum safety standards in order to ensure safety of haulage operations, saying FRSC will intensify efforts at enforcing the laws.
Oyeyemi stated this in his goodwill message at the 16th annual general meeting of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), which opened in Abuja over the weekend.
In a press release signed by Bisi Kazeem, Head, Media Relations and Strategy, FRSC, Oyeyemi while commending the organisers for holding the meeting close to the end of the year when traffic volume normally heighten due to congested festivities, urged the participants to use the forum to proffer appropriate solutions to the menace which crashes involving tankers and trailers cause. Oyeyemi further stated that FRSC remains committed to initiating measures that could lead to the attainment of safer road environment, but urged the stakeholders to see issues of road safety as a shared responsibility.
“This meeting should, therefore, provide an opportunity to deliberate on the rising cases of road crashes involving tankers and trailers and proffer appropriate solutions to the menace,” he stated.
The Corps Marshal noted that as owners of articulated vehicles, the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) occupies an envious position in the campaigns to make the nation’s roads safer, saying they have the capacity to apply sanctions on the drivers and coerce them to comply with minimum safety standards. He however, commended the leadership of the Association for being active in the search for solutions to the menace of truck crashes on the nation’s highways.
He recalled that the nation’s experience in fatal tanker crashes this year started with the fatal tanker crash that occurred in Anambra state on 31st May with so much destruction that agonised the entire nation, pointing out that other fatal occurrences in parts of the country, forced FRSC to convene a national conference on the safety of haulage operations where stakeholders charted a way forward. The FRSC Boss disclosed that in line with the recommendations reached at the conference, training/recertification programmes were organised for the tanker and truck drivers in Lagos and held in nine centres across the country.
He noted that in the course of the programme, cases of fake and expired driver’s licences among the drivers became obvious. “To address this challenge, four special driver’s licence centres for the processing of driver’s licences for truck drivers have been established in identified centres across the country,” he stated.
“This will address cases of inadequate biometric data of drivers and curtail incidence of payment of exorbitant fees above the official rates fixed by the Joint Tax Board (JTB), which is N6,350 only,” he added.
Oyeyemi further stated that the second phase of the training/recertification programme would soon commence in Kano at the state government owned Truck Drivers’ Training School, noting that the Corps is addressing the challenges of speeding which constitute about 50.8 percent of the causative factors of crash occurrences in the country through the use of speed limiting devices as approved by stakeholders in their various consultative meetings. He added that though the enforcement of the use of speed limiters was earlier scheduled to take off in September this year, the appeals made by the stakeholders led Mr President to graciously approve a new enforcement date of 1st of April next year.
“In the spirit of collective responsibility, stakeholders have equally resolved to use the grace period to engage in aggressive public enlightenment programmes as well as subtle enforcement on their members by the leadership of the various unions to make the enforcement not only smooth, but a programme meant to restore safety to road transportation in the country,” he stated..
While restating the commitment of the FRSC to effective collaboration with relevant stakeholders, Oyeyemi expressed solidarity with the leadership of NARTO for its efforts being made to sanitise haulage operations in the country through adherence to minimum safety standards. He noted that the FRSC is strengthening its collaboration with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) as well as other relevant regulatory agencies to address issues of importation of fake spare parts by unscrupulous traders, saying that would ensure that only genuine spare parts are allowed into the country.
“In the same vein, we would remain vigilant in reporting the conditions of the roads across the country to the relevant agencies to ensure timely repair and rehabilitation in order to prolong the lifespan of vehicles<” he stated.
The Corps Marshal appealed for joint efforts with the leadership of NARTO in the special end of year patrol to ensure an all inclusive operation that could lead to a resounding success. “I also call on you to use this forum to fashion out mechanisms that could address cases of indiscipline among some drivers, especially those that undermine lane discipline; drive with poor lighting system and would not use retro-reflective tapes to provide adequate visibility to their vehicles, especially in the night,” Oyeyemi stated.