The Corps Marshal and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, has said that 30 per cent of truck drivers in the country have failed vision tests conducted by the commission.
Oyeyemi made the disclosure at the 2020 Truck Renewal Conference in Abuja on Thursday.
The conference, which was jointly organised by the Major oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAM), and Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) was themed: ‘Truck Renewal System: Ensuring Road Transportation Safety.’
Boboye, who described most of the truck drivers as ‘lawless,’ pointed out that most of them (truck drivers) had eyesight challenges which had made it more dangerous for them to drive at night.
He said that most of the trucks plying the road did not operate with the minimal safety standard which, according to him, had contributed to the cause of many road accidents.
The FRSC Corps Marshal said: “We need to take action; 30 per cent of drivers failed the vision tests we conducted. I commend MOMAN because most of its members comply to minimal safety standards but the others are yet to do so.
“Most of the trucks on our highways do not have safety valves, we must enforce the law of no safety valves, no loading of products.
“Just yesterday, a whole family was wiped off to an accident caused by a truck with petrol in Felele Lokoja; this is avoidable if the minimal safety measures were adhered to.
“This is the time to stop all the talk shop and swing into action to avoid the reoccurrence of these on our roads.”
Oyeyemi called on MOMAN, NARTO and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to join forces in ensuring that drivers complied with the rules and regulation of traffic while driving their trucks.
The Road Safety boss commended president Muhammadu Buhari for his administration’s efforts at reviving the rail system, saying that it would help to reduce the over reliance on the road for haulage of Petroleum products.
“If the rail is functioning well, pressure will reduce on the road,” he added.
He also called for full auditing of trucks and installation of safety valves on the trucks before using them on the road.
“MOMAN and NARTO must train and retrain their members, and DPR needs to begin recertification to help reduce crashes on the road.
“The level of lawlessness is high on the side of the drivers, we witness average of 90 deaths per week in the country,” he added.
MOMAN Chairman, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi in his remarks said the theme of the Conference was “apt” going by the situation of safety in transportation value chain in the country.
Oyebanji acknowledged that globally, products were transported through the pipelines but lamented that that had stopped over the years in Nigeria due to lack of integrity.
He disclosed that about 10,000 trucks move from the South to Northern part of the country adding that about 80 per cent do so without skid, automatic breaks and other equipment needed for safety.
He assured that MOMAN was working to ensure replacement of trucks that do not meet safety requirements, adding, “We are here today to discuss framework on truck renewal.
“NARTO and MOMAN believe that safety of the road is possible, we will collaborate with FRSC to ensure training of drivers.”
The MOMAN leader called on marketers to ensure efficiency in product delivery adding that efficiency will help marketers to remain afloat with the deregulation of the downstream oil sector.
In her contributions, minister of state for Transportation Gbemisola Saraki, represented by Mrs. Angela Keyede, Assistant Director, Transport, called for adherence to safety measures on the road.
She posited that most of the accidents on the road were caused by human factor such as using the mobile phone while driving, dangerous driving style, over speeding among others.
“Road crash is an epidemic in Nigeria and has caused more deaths than diseases. It can be avoided if drivers can be disciplined,” she said.
She however said that Government had embarked on road rehabilitation to address some of the challenges.
“Government is also reviving the rails but I urge you to ensure replacement of old trucks with modern trucks to reduce dangers of crashes on our roads,” she added.
National president of NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Othman, said that nearly 58 million litres of petrol consumed on daily basis in the country were transported by its members, adding that government had yet to make policies to attract investment to the sector.
He assured that its members would comply with the safety measures so as to reduce the number of road crashes in the country.