1.1 Background to the Study
Although transportation has become the most important part of our society and a necessary evil that we can’t do without, Mumby, (1968) said, “That there is no escape from transport” in essence, it means that human being can’t do without transportation on a daily basis. The importance of transport made all its externalities inescapable. Road accident had been one of the most common and the most destructive externality of transport with emphasis on the loss of life and properties. The greatest culprit of all the modes of transport is road of which traffic accident is the most disturbing repercussion of its use.
Road traffic accident is therefore an issue of great international concern as it has emerged as the single greatest source of death all over the world. In the developing countries where the number of motor vehicles relating to population is generally much lower than in the developed countries, fatalities from automobile crashes are higher. It has been shown, for instance, that accidents in developing countries cost almost one percent of these countries Annual Gross National Product utilizing scarce financial resources they can ill-afford to lose Akpoghomeh, (1998).
Road accidents are one of the major causes of death, injury and disability in all over the world both in developed and developing countries. With a broad estimate, in every one minute, two people are killed and 95 people are severely injured or permanently disabled in traffic accidents worldwide. Traffic accident related deaths and injuries result in not only substantial economic losses but also serious physical and mental sufferings. Developing countries are much more affected from traffic than developed countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, 75 Per cent of deaths resulted from traffic accidents occurring in developing countries, although they own only 32 Per cent of the motor vehicles in the world. While the annual fatality per 10,000 vehicles ranges from 20 to 200 in low or middle income countries, it varies between 1.5 and 5 in industrialized countries. The estimated global economic cost of traffic accidents is $518 billion per year. The share of the developing countries is $100 billion which accounts for 1 to 3 Per cent of their gross national product. Road traffic crashes occur on all continents and in every country of the world. Every year they take the lives of more than a million people and incapacitate many millions more. Pedestrians, users of non-motorized vehicles–including bicycles, rickshaws, carts and motor cyclists in low–income and middle–income countries carry a large proportion of the global burden of road traffic death and serious injury.
Nigeria, with a total land area of 910,771 square kilometers and human population of about 167 million, is the most populous country in Africa, and the 7th most populous nation in the world. Its large land mass and burgeoning population correlate with its high level of vehicular population estimated at over 7.6 million with a total road length of about 194,000 kilometers (comprising 34, 120 km 2 federal, 30,500 Km, State and 129,580 km of local roads). Nigeria ranked as the country with the second largest road network in Africa in 2011. Its population density which varies in rural and urban areas (approximately 51.7% and 48.3% respectively) translates to a population- road ratio of 860 persons per square kilometres indicating intense traffic pressure on the available road network. This pressure contributes to the high road traffic accidents in the country FRSC, (2012).
Apart from the humanitarian aspects of road safety the injuries and fatalities, which occur as a result of road accidents, have serious social and economic consequence, which has made prospective travellers to develop phobia for spatial interaction. This under normal circumstances would have prevented and nicked in the bud all business initiatives that would have taken place at location different from the location of business tycoons given the fear of the unknown in relation to likelihood of being involved in road traffic accidents. Road traffic accidents have physical, social, emotional and economic implications. Nigeria loses about 80 billion naira annually to road accidents of all subjects that are involved in road traffic accidents in Nigeria, 29.1 percent suffer disability and 13.5 percent are unable to return to work Labinjo et al, 2010; Atubi, (2012a).
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Nigeria was established as a child of necessity, to arrest the increase in road traffic crashes which existed in the 70s. The increase in road traffic crashes then, traced to the upsurge in vehicular traffic resulted from the economic boom during the period. The Nigerian Army reacted to this ugly trend by organizing an annual road safety campaign week. The then Federal Military Government of Nigeria in its own response instituted the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), which was placed under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Works from 1974 to 1988. In spite of the fourteen years that the NRSC existed and operated, the Nigerian highways became progressively dangerous as the lives of road users were lost through preventable road crashes.
In the search for a credible and effective response to the challenges posed by these road traffic crashes, the Federal Military Government of Nigeria on February 18th, 1988 established the Federal Road Safety Commission as the lead government agency on road safety matters; vide Decree No 45 of 1988 as amended by Decree 35 of 1992. While Decree 45 of 1988 restricted FRSC operations to Federal highways, Decree 35 of 1992 expanded its jurisdiction to cover all public highways in the Country and also empowered the personnel of the Corps to bear arms. Furthermore, Decree 35 of 1992 changed the designation of the Chief Executive Officer from Director of Organization and Chief Executive (DOACE) to Corps Marshal and Chief Executive (COMACE) as well as creation of Corps out of the Commission.
Both decrees were cited as the FRSC Act (CAP 141) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 1990. This was recently repealed and re-acted as the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007. The essence of the 2007 enactment was to capture current issues and broaden the Commission’s mandate to holistically address issues bordering road traffic administration and safety management in Nigeria. With the responsibilities given to the FRSC as an organization to see to the reduction in the level of road accident in the country, a lot of efforts had been put into play to curtain the terror of road traffic accidents. This work will be examining some of the efforts of the corps to reduce accidents in Lagos.
1.2 Research Problem
Traffic crash presently is the 11th leading cause of death and it may rise to 3rd position by the year 2020. Therefore, in Nigeria one person is killed in less than two hours as at 2008, one RTC occur every 58 minutes and 54 deaths occur in every 100,000 population (Balogun, 2006:4). It is in view of this myriad carnage that the federal road safety corp. is mandated with making the highways safe for motorist and other road users, and also preventing or minimizing road traffic crash on the high ways. Road traffic crashes (RTC) are as old as the roads (Highways) themselves. Therefore, roads traffic crash is unarguable, a major killer of men. The magnitude and trend of the crash worldwide is heart breaking, yet unfortunately, the rising tide of the global problem has continued to outstrip effort to control it.
Despite the efforts of Federal Road Safety Corps and other road traffic management agencies the cases of road traffic crashes are reportedly high in Nigeria with attendant negative consequence on human and economic resources of the country. Adedokun (2015) reported that 6450 Nigerians lost their lives on our roads in 2013, while 40057 people were injured, this figure is similar to that reported by FRSC in 2013 which indicated that a total of 13583 cases of road traffic crashes were reported with 6544 people killed and 40057 injured. This is a slight reduction compared to the 2012 figure where out of 14783 cases of road traffic crashes, 6573 were killed and 40,683 people were injured FRSC Annual Report, (2013). Despite the slight drop in 2013, the problem still persists and calls for serious intervention.
According to Oyeyemi (2016) an estimated 11,031,809 drivers have been registered at the end of 2015 and 11,893,393 are expected to be on Nigerian roads with a vehicle population of 10,565,571 at the end of 2016. With the bad state of roads in the country the problem of road traffic crashes remains a big challenge. Oyeyemi (2016), further reported that 21199 vehicles were involved in crashes in 2013, 16779 in 2014 and 17198 in 2015 respectively. This clearly demonstrates that road traffic crash trend has not been reversed to the bench mark set by Nigeria in line with the United Nation decade of action 2011-2020. The United Nations set a framework to halt the increasing trend of road traffic fatalities through; establishment of lead agency on road safety management with diverse partners, setting realistic long-term targets and funding for strategic road safety activities.
The actualization of this dream is being hampered by lack of coordinated efforts between various government agencies (federal, state and districts), non-governmental agencies, private sector and other organizations/stakeholders interested in road safety. Most often road safety does not get the level of political support it deserves. Furthermore, the lack of funding in road safety is hindering the well-meaning road safety policies in Nigeria. High prevalence of non-road worthy vehicles on the roads, excessive axle load especially in petrol tankers and trailers is a major problem militating against good road traffic management and traffic crash reduction. The use of underage and poorly trained drivers and drug use among the drivers‟ accounts for 87% of vehicle crashes between January to August, 2014, while the FRSC recorded increased rate of crashes with 39% attributed to speed FRSC Annual Report, (2014).
FRSC data on RTCs involving commercial vehicles in Nigeria between 2007 and 2011 indicated a total of 2094 crashes occurred that killed 1150 persons and injured 5865. Despite its remarkable success, with six years away from its 2020 goal of achieving 3.2 deaths per 10,000 vehicles, FRSC is still at 41 deaths per 10,000 vehicles FRSC (2012 Data). With these figures above there is a need for urgent attention on how to reduce the RTC, this work is to checkmate what the FRSC is doing to reduce accident in Lagos despite its figures for crashes in the country.
1.3 Research Questions
With respect to the problems of traffic crashes in our roads across the country, the following questions come to mind to be answered at the end of the research. These questions are:
- What are the causes of road traffic crashes in Lagos?
- How frequent is road traffic crashes and fatality rate of road traffic related crashes in Lagos?
- What are the measures put in place by FRSC in managing road traffic crashes in Lagos?
- What are the issues that affect road traffic management in the Lagos?
1.4 Research Objectives
- To identify the causes of road traffic crashes in Lagos.
- To determine the frequency of road traffic crashes and fatality rate of road traffic related crashes in Lagos.
- To identify the measures put in place by FRSC in managing road traffic crashes in Lagos.
- To analyze the issues that affect road traffic management in the Lagos.
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho There is no measures put in place by FRSC to managing road traffic crashes in Lagos.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study will be of value to the general public and the government to know the various measures and efforts of FRSC and other road traffic management agencies which include the Nigeria Police Force, Directorate of Road Traffic Services and State Government owned road traffic management agencies to reduce Road Traffic Crashes to the barest minimum. This work will be highlighting all the effort of FRSC to reduce Road Traffic Crashes in Lagos and also suggest to the agency what to do to make the measures of effect. It will also stand as a reference point to scholars who will also love to research in the same area of study at another city in the country.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study will cover the contribution of FRSC activities on road traffic crashes reduction from 2012-2017 in Ikeja Lagos. This period is significant because it is within it that the Lagos witnessed dynamic increase in motorization, traffic congestion and alarming rise in the rate of RTC occurrence. It is also in the period that the FRSC scaled up her activities in traffic management and road safety culture entrenchment by becoming a signatory to United Nation Decade.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
Challenges: The problem faced by the corps in carrying out the statutory factions.
Corps: The entire working staff in whatever capacity or department excluding appointed members of the board.
Enforcement: broadly refers to any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating, or punishing people who violate the rules and norms governing that society.
Traffic: the number of vehicles moving along roads, or the amount of aircraft, trains, or ships moving along a route.
A highway: is any public road or other public way on land. It is used for major roads, but also includes other public roads and public tracks.
Regulation: a law, rule, or other order prescribed by authority, especially to control conduct.