The Federal Road Safety Corps, Lagos State Sector Command says it recorded 353 road traffic crashes which claimed 79 lives in the state between January and August 2023.
The FRSC Lagos Sector Commander, Babatunde Farinloye, disclosed this during the flag-off of the 2023 Ember Months Campaign, which was jointly organised by the command and Guinness Nigeria Plc on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the campaign is: “Speed Thrills but Kills: Drive Responsibly and Avoid Overloading.”
Farinloye said that 603 others sustained different degrees of injury, some with permanent disabilities in the same period under review.
The sector commander attributed road accidents that occurred to speeding, excessive load and operational irresponsibility, saying that these underlined the abuse of the roads, the vehicles and rights of other road users.
He noted that speed had been identified globally as a causal or aggravating element in almost 96 per cent of road traffic crashes, adding that its dimensions consisted of excessive speed and inappropriate speed.
Farinloye said that aside from speeding, overloading and irresponsibility, statistics also indicated the potential for high rate of driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, as well as fatigue driving during the festive period.
The sector commander said that just a few days ago, around 0045Hrs in the morning, a crash between a luxury bus and a truck making a U-Turn at Kara end of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway led to the death of four passengers.
“These incidents constitute huge human capacity loss and high level of trauma, social cost and other consequences that may change the course of several destinies.
“This is the essence of our continuous campaign and interventions. Nobody’s life has to be untimely terminated as an inevitable price for mobility on the roads.
“Today, therefore, we are flagging-off this campaign to remind ourselves and unequivocally reiterate that crashes are self-destructive occurrences.
“We (the road users) are the prime causal agents; we are the victims and we must be the solution. And it begins with our individual mindsets and convictions!,” he said.
The sector commander said this year’s theme was selected to emphasise the three leading safety imperatives on the roads during this period.
He said that the campaign represented an integral component of the FRSC’s strategic interventions towards elevating the consciousness of Nigerians to the realities of road crashes and its mind-boggling implications on lives and societies.
Farinloye said that annually, over 1.3 million people died on roads worldwide with about 50 million others sustaining various degrees of injury.
The sector commander added that developing nations (including Nigeria) accounted for about 91 percent of world road fatalities with nations losing three per cent to five per cent of their annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said: “For us at the FRSC Lagos State Sector Command, we shall be deploying the full capacity of the command for a multi-dimensional intervention.
“This is in the form of enforcement operation, traffic control, public enlightenment and education, point-of-load education and surveillance, strategic advocacy and help-area for emergency response during this festive season.
“In the most aggressive and efficient way, we shall prosecute our programmes around the identified leading crash causative factors. Our vision for 2023 Operation Zero remains Zero Fatality.”
Farinloye called every stakeholder, and indeed road user, to support it in the arduous task through exemplary conduct on the road and the propagation of the message of safety across our various constituencies.
Speaking, ACM Gilbert Igbokwe, the Zonal Commanding Officer Zone 2, said that road traffic menace continually caused colossal trauma on victims, their families and the nation.
Igbokwe said this was why the command could not afford to be on the fence in taking concrete actions to redress any negative road use aversion such as driving irresponsibly, speeding beyond posted limit or overloading.
He appealed to motorists to take urgent steps in promoting safe road use to engender good health, economic growth and development in the state.
The zonal commander also urged the Ministry of Transportation to support the campaign in the quest to rid the road of carnages to the benefits of mankind.
Also, the Managing Director of Guinness, Mr John Masunga, urged consumers, motorists and the public to make a personal commitment not to take alcohol while driving.
Magunda said: “Remember that drivers have responsibility not only to ensure that passengers reach their destinations safely, but to ensure that they return home safely to see their families and loved ones.
“Our aim for this campaign is to promote safety on our roads by fostering a culture of not drinking while driving.
“We believe that our position as a market leader places a significant responsibility on us to raise awareness about the importance of consuming alcohol in a responsible way.”
The event had in attendance representatives from the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Fire Service, Nigeria Army, Vehicle Inspection Officers and members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) among others.
The event featured free medical check for sugar and blood pressure levels among others.