AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF FEDERAL ROAD SAFETY COMMISSION IN REDUCING ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS IN KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA.
Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)
Road traffic accidents‟ statistics in Nigeria reveal a serious and growing problem with absolute fatality rate and casualty figures rising rapidly. This is a major issue being handled by the Federal Road Safety Commission, as its major role is to curb road traffic accidents on Nigerian roads. The study examined the effectiveness of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in reducing road traffic accidents in Kaduna state. The objectives were to characterize the commonest period of accidents in Kaduna state; to examine the road traffic enforcement equipments available to FRSC; to assess the measures adopted to reduce road traffic accidents and to examine the working conditions and enforcement capacity of FRSC officials on accident reduction. Four units of FRSC were selected in Kaduna state and four motor parks were also selected to obtain drivers‟ perception. The study was conducted by using two sets of questionnaires: one for the FRSC officials and the other for the commercial vehicle drivers. A total number of 214 questionnaires were used for the study, as completed by the FRSC officials and commercial drivers selected randomly from the four units. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, T – Test, chi square measured by Likert scale. The study revealed that 78% of the FRSC staff acknowledged that accident is mostly common between April and October and at night, there is a fair provision of enforcement equipments, public enlightenment program is the strategy that was mostly practiced to ensure road safety; 92% of FRSC staff desired special allowances for working at specific time and place and 27.9% of FRSC desired salary increase. The T-Test statistic for record of equipments reported a remarkable difference between number of equipment required and the number available (t> 1.00, p< 0.1) and no difference in the number of available equipments and number working (t< 1.00 ,p> 0.1). Likert scale measured the perception of commercial drivers of FRSC staffs. The study concluded that even though Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is effective in reducing road traffic accident occurrences in Kaduna state, there aren‟t enough enforcement equipments, strategies and manpower to boost the effect of their activities. It is therefore recommended that adequate and standardised enforcement equipments be provided for all FRSC units in Kaduna state and consultations should be made to all stakeholders on better accident reduction measures.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY Modern transport and freight distribution system all over the world is tending towards the adoption of best practices that are reliable, timely and cost-effective (Ubogu, 2011). This is because transportation has been discovered to be a major prerequisite to the development of any economy. Like other activities that are intensive in utilization of infrastructure, the transport sector is an important component of the economy impacting on development and the welfare of the people (Rodrigue and Notteboom, 2009). Transport provides the arteries through which the economic life of people, information and raw materials as well as finished products can be moved from one place to another (Ighodaro, 2009). Road transportation provides benefit both to nations and individuals by facilitating the movement of goods and people thereby enabling increased access to jobs, economic markets, education, recreation and healthcare, which in turn have direct and indirect positive impacts on the health of populations (WHO, 2009). Despite these multiple advantages, road accidents have serious negative consequences on the economy of a nation. Road traffic accidents have been a major issue to both developed and developing world today. One of the major concerns of any nation‟s transportation sector is how to curb road traffic accidents in such a country. The growing number of deaths and injuries as a result of road traffic accidents is a global phenomenon that all countries of the world are grappling with. According to World Health Organization as cited by Aderamo (2012a), road traffic accidents and deaths are a global disease sweeping through the world gradually. The World health Organization estimates that more than 3000 people are killed every day in road traffic accidents globally with at least 30,000 people injured or disabled and this adds up 2 to over 1million people killed and between 20 – 50 million people injured or crippled in road traffic crashes each year (Krug, Sharma and Lozano, 2000). Jacobs, Aaron- Thomas and Astrop (2000) estimated that the global cost of road crashes is about 518 billion US dollars annually, and ranges in percentage of GNP from 0.3% in Vietnam to almost 5% of GNP in the United States of America, Malawi and Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. The true costs of accidents to the society are probably much greater, since these estimates are based on direct costs only. The problem of transportation safety is of great magnitude encompassing all modes of transportation, economic levels and transport purposes. The rising trend in morbidity and mortality rate due to road traffic accidents in low and middle income countries has made some authors to declare road traffic accidents an “epidemic”(Nantulya and Reich, 2002; Aderamo, 2012a; Atubi, 2012g). Traffic accident mortality rates doubled in Ghana between 1994 and 2004, increasing public awareness of the issue and prompting the government to take action. To curb the rise in death rates, the government implemented both structural and behavioural plans aimed at crash prevention. Structural plans took the form of speed bumps and rumble strips, while a behavioural plan used informational television advertisements to educate citizens about drunk driving and speeding. From 2000 to 2005 road traffic deaths in Tanzania increased by nearly 50 per cent. In an effort to improve response mechanisms, a trauma-team training programme was offered to help nurses and physicians assess and assist victims of traffic accidents. An evaluation of this programme showed a positive response by students and a post-training simulation showed an overall improvement in response capabilities (Eshbaugh, Maly, Moyer and Torkelson, 2012). Over 42,000 road users are killed in European Union (EU) countries annually and around 3.5 million are injured. This accounts for an annual cost of over 160 billion Euros and 3 untold pain and suffering of the victims and their relatives (Aldona and Gravydas, 2007). The global cost of road accidents and injuries are enormous. At the first African Road safety congress held in Nairobi, Kenya in 1989, Nigeria was ranked ahead of other African countries in terms of mortality rate on her highways, with the chances of a vehicle killing someone 47 times higher than in Great Britain (Onakomaiya, 1990). In terms of safety, Nigeria is a high risk region with an average of 32 traffic deaths per 1000 people (Filani and Gbadamosi, 2007). This is very high compared with the United States‟ 1.6 traffic deaths per 1000 population and the United Kingdom‟s 1.4 deaths per 1000 population (Trinca, 1988). In terms of traffic safety, there is an average of 230 accidents per 10,000 vehicles in Nigeria. This is far in excess of United State of America‟s accident rate of 2.7 per 10,000 vehicles and the United Kingdom‟s accident rate of 3.2 per 10,000 vehicles (Obinna, 2007). These data show that Nigeria has the highest rate of death from motor accidents in Africa. Road crashes started in Nigeria in 1906 at Lagos. Ever since then it has been a public health concern based on the number and magnitude of persons killed and injured. Between 1960 through to 2006, a total of 969,618 road crashes were reported leading to a casualty figure of 1,159,642 persons, distributed as 292,703 persons killed and 866,939 persons injured (Arosanyin, Olowosulu and Oyeyemi, 2012). These figures of crashes and casualty are an under – estimation of the realities on Nigerian roads, as it has been argued that there are high non- reporting and under- reporting of road crashes (Arosanyin, 2004). A comparative assessment of the causes of deaths in Nigeria has placed road crashes as the most important killer of Nigerians than a combination of 35 notifiable diseases including malaria and HIV/AIDS. This burden is more given that the estimate covers only casualty component (Arosanyin, 2008). Indeed, the Nigerian accident pattern seems to suggest that the better the road, the higher the accident and 4 fatality rate as well as the severity and non–survival indices. This is because of non compliance of drivers with speed limits (Filani and Gbadamosi, 2007). In the year 2012, at the special marshal workshop held in Kaduna state, it was announced that between January and July 2012, a total of 2, 200 traffic offenders were apprehended while 597 road traffic accidents were recorded in Kaduna state. Out of these accidents, 125 fatal cases, 389 serious cases and 58 minor cases occurred while 297 persons were killed and 2, 239 persons were injured (FRSC, 2012). Owing to these facts, the high rate of accidents in Kaduna state is obviously unacceptable. In the event of road traffic accidents, there have been numerous methods of management, reduction and prevention. The use of traffic law enforcement agencies and associated organizations happens to be a major policy effort in accident reduction cases. Early attempts in the enforcement of road traffic regulations in Nigeria were limited to discrete and isolated attempts by some states of the federation. Notably among the efforts to institute a formidable road safety program, was the effort of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) between 1960 and 1965. The effort of the Nigerian Army in the training of its officers and men on road safety in the early 1970‟s also contributed to road safety idea and consciousness in Nigeria. The Nigerian Army started the first public road safety campaign in 1972 when it initiated an annual road safety week. The first deliberate policy on road safety was the creation in 1974 of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) by the then Military Government. The impact of the Commission was however, not sustained. In 1977, the Military Administration in Oyo State, Nigeria established the Oyo State Road Safety Corps which made some local significant improvements in Road Safety and road discipline in the State. This lasted till 1983 when it was disbanded by the Federal Government (FRSC, 2009). 5 With the continued rising trend of road traffic accidents in Nigeria then, which placed it as one of the most road traffic accident (RTA) prone countries worldwide (second to Ethiopia) (FRSC, 2012), the Nigerian Government saw the need to establish the present Federal Road Safety Corps in 1988 to address the carnage on the highways. The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) and the Nigerian Police (Motor Traffic Department) all have a common goal of prevention and reduction of accident occurrences in Nigeria. The functions of the FRSC generally relates to making the highway safe for motorists and other road users; recommending works and devices designed to eliminate or minimize accidents on the highways and advising the Federal and State Governments including the Federal Capital Territory Administration and relevant government agencies in the localities where such works and devices are required and educating motorists and members of the public on the importance of discipline on the usage of roads (FRSC, 2012). Directorate of Road Traffic Service, (DRTS), popularly known as Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), is a government agency saddled with the task of transport management on Nigerian roads within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the 36 states of the federation. DRTS was established by law to specifically issue driver‟s license, vehicle papers registration, production and issuance of plate numbers and inspection of vehicles (Mbachu, 2012). However, there are arguments in the public domain among agencies of government which appear to have overlapping functions. For example, motorists are of the view that the functions of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigerian police and that of the DTRS are almost similar and conflicting, all working towards ensuring the safety of Nigerian roads (FRSC, 2009). Therefore, it is worthy of note that Federal Road Safety Corps is a major force in road traffic 6 issues in Nigeria and therefore requires proper assessment of her role in road traffic accident reduction. 1.2 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM The overall goal of the decade of action for road Safety, 2011 – 2020 is to stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by 2020 (WHO, 2011). Road safety is a foremost priority in the mind of all road users. However, in Nigeria, in spite of efforts of road traffic enforcement agencies, the rate of road traffic accident is alarming and calls for investigation. The mission of safe road in Nigeria initiative is to reduce road crash deaths and injuries to 50% by 2020. Safe road in Nigeria is a response to the United Nation‟s decade of action for road safety. It is one of the initiatives of Federal Road Safety Corps of Nigeria to promote safety on our roads by expressing their determinations in seven facts. Fact 1: Road crashes kill more than HIV/AIDS and Malaria. Fact 2: there‟s someone you know who has been killed or injured in a crash. Fact 3: people are killed or injured in road crashes every day. Fact 4: all road crashes can be prevented. Fact 5: most crashes are caused by the driver‟s behavior and not always as a result of bad roads. Fact 6: the idea of a “safe road” in Nigeria is more of changing our driving behavior than advocating for good road infrastructure. Fact 7: we can reduce deaths and injuries due to crashes by 50% if we make a commitment to not drink and drive, not over speed, wear seat belts and helmets, not use phone or eat while driving, obey traffic rules and tell people about safe road Nigeria (FRSC, 2012). As laudable as the functions of this government agency appear, the public view it as revenue generating unit rather than an agency that implement policies that should ensure road safety compliance and culture of road safety discipline by road users (Arosanyin et al, 2012; Mbachu, 2012). 7 Several researches have been conducted on road traffic accidents in Nigeria and most of these reports relate accident rates to negligence of road users and poor road infrastructure. Aderamo (2012b) examined the spatial variation of road traffic accidents casualties with a view to suggesting measures to reduce the scourge. The data used for the study included the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents in Nigeria over a four year period (2004-2007). The findings showed that spatial variation exist in the incidence of road traffic accidents in Nigeria. It also showed that total road traffic accidents, population estimate, road lengths and number of registered vehicles are important variables to take into consideration in examining road traffic accident casualties in the country. A study of the causal factors of road traffic crashes in southwestern Nigeria by Aworemi, Abdul- Azeez and Olabode (2010) concluded that human, vehicle, roadway and environment are the salient factors that had significant contribution of about 79.4% on the road traffic crashes in the study area. Ohakwe, Iwueze and Chickezie (2011) also analyzed road traffic accidents in Imo state, south- eastern Nigeria. The study concluded that crashes such as Motorcycles- Motorcycle (McMc), Motorcycles- Vehicle (McV) and Vehicle- Vehicle (VV) are the leading types and accounted for the greater number of deaths. In these findings, it was observed that reckless driving, inexperience, mechanical fault and bad roads are the major causes. Chukwuemeka (2012) observed that the most perturbing problems in the issue of road accidents are the seemingly incorrigible attitude of drivers to overloading of goods and passengers. Granted that there are multiple areas of concern, the offence of overloading is rife on Nigerian highways. In this respect, many motorists appear ignorant of essential principles outlined in the Highway Code. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of these drivers do not see these guidelines as congruent enough with road safety. Cars, minibuses and taxis are 8 predominantly involved in road traffic accidents. Furthermore, Arosanyin et al (2012) examined the level of compliance with some basic road traffic regulations among commercial motorcyclists commonly called Okada riders. The data for the analysis were collected from 334 commercial motorcyclists from Samaru – Zaria in Northern Nigeria through structured questionnaire coupled with observation and inspection. This study discussed the aspect of compliance of only a percentage of road users (motorcyclists). In its findings, it was observed that the driver licensing procedure is faulty. The fact that about 42% of the motorcyclists are not aware of the existence of the Highway Code which is expected to guide their conduct on the road is indicative of the fact that they did not pass through the theory and practical test required for issuing driver license. No matter how good a licensing system may be, non adherence to guideline before certification will jeopardize the intention. Secondly, the results further confirm that traffic law enforcement is still below optimal. About 36% of the motorcyclists did not have a valid rider license; 84% did not put on safety helmet; and most of the times operators carry more than one passenger at a time. Considering the above mentioned research works, various causes of increase in road traffic accidents have been identified using various parameters. However, there still exists a gap in the issues of road traffic accident reduction in Nigeria particularly in the aspect of traffic regulation enforcement agencies. These enforcement agencies over the years are known to be a major force in prevention, control and reduction of road traffic accidents, and are generally observed to be functional in their duties, yet there is an alarming increase in accident rate. An examination of the studies available reveals that not much attention had been given to the effectiveness of agencies responsible for the reduction of accidents and road safety. Hence, there is a need to 9 thoroughly examine how effective this agency is in its duties of reducing road traffic accidents in Kaduna State. This study intends to address the following questions: i. What are the commonest periods for the occurrences of road traffic accidents in Kaduna state? ii. What are the road traffic enforcement equipments available to FRSC in Kaduna state? iii. What are the measures put in place to reduce road traffic accidents in Kaduna state? iv. What is the nature of the working conditions of FRSC officials in Kaduna state? 1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of Federal Road safety Corps in reducing road traffic accidents in Kaduna state. To achieve this aim, the specific objectives to be pursued are to: i. characterize the commonest period for the occurrences of road traffic accidents in Kaduna state; ii. examine the road traffic enforcement equipments available to FRSC for accident reduction; iii. assess the measures adopted to reduce road traffic accidents and iv. examine the working conditions and enforcement capacity of FRSC officials on road accidents reduction. 1.4 HYPOTHESES For the purpose of clarity, the research hypotheses that will guide this study are: Null hypothesis There is no significant difference between the number of required enforcement equipments and number of available equipments owned by FRSC. 10 1.5 THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY This research examines the level of infrastructural facilities in place for FRSC in Kaduna state and also to check if these facilities meet global standards. The working conditions and welfare of the workforce of the commission was assessed. Finally, the strategies developed to reduce road accidents and the level of achievement of these strategies was also examined. This study covers majorly four divisions of Kaduna state namely Kaduna metropolis, Kafanchan, Zaria and Kakau. The respondents are road traffic enforcement agents from Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and motorists in the above named locations in the state. The survey was carried out for a period of six months spanning from April, 2013 to September, 2013 and it involved the collection and collation of data, analysis and interpretation of analyzed data. 1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY Road traffic accidents in Africa are expected to rapidly increase over the next four decades to become a major public health challenge across the continent (Eshbaugh et al, 2012). However, forecasts show that if policy interventions on the continent effectively put the brakes on road traffic accidents, then, cumulatively through 2050, 42 million road traffic deaths would be prevented, 144 million years of productive, healthy life would be saved and US $ 234 billion would be added to the continent‟s GDP (Eshbaugh et al, 2012). The findings of this study will portray how the above forecasts can be actualized through the performance of the Federal Road Safety Corps in Kaduna state, Nigeria. Better methods of management, enforcement of road traffic rules and reduction of accidents is suggested in this study for the benefit of the government and all road traffic enforcement agencies, especially the 11 FRSC. Also, all road users (private car drivers, commercial vehicle drivers, truck drivers, motorcycle and bicycle riders and pedestrians) will be exposed to the essence of compliance to road safety regulations for the purpose of safety of lives and properties while on the road. All stakeholders (government establishments, private organizations, institutions and religious bodies) will be aware of the importance of compliance to road safety rules for the benefit of the nation as a whole through the findings of this study. This study will enable the government to develop policies and strategies to reduce road traffic accidents in the country for the overall goal of the country‟s development.Get Complete Materials