GOVERNMENTS’ SINS ON TRAFFIC SIGNS

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It is very essential for all road users to know and understand the meaning of all the traffic signs and road markings as well as how to act on their instructions.
It is however disheartening that the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria have not paid enough attention to the installation of relevant traffic signs and road markings where appropriate. So many roads are either without lines or with faded lines.
Some signs when they are even available are either not correct in shape, colour or position. For example, the maximum speed limit signs are installed on some roads but with no single Derestriction sign to complete the instruction.
The maximum speed limit sign is to tell a Driver not to exceed the stated speed from that very point or from near that point to avoid imminent dangers. From the point where it is safe for the Driver to increase his speed(through not beyond the official speed limits), a derestriction sign (with yellow background and black stripes) should be installed to inform the Driver that it is now safe to move beyond the initial speed limit (restriction). The absence of derestriction signs leaves Drivers to their own judgement and disrespect for the maximum speed limit sign.
Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory has improved in the installation of traffic signs but some of them are however incomplete. For example, on Abuja-Zuba road, there are several U-Turn signs for upcoming and oncoming vehicles but there is no indication of the distance of the U-Turn facility from the point of the U-Turn sign. Also, there is no ‘’No U-Turn ‘’ sign to warn oncoming vehicles not to use the U-Turn facility meant for the upcoming vehicles and vice versa. Several accidents have occurred while oncoming vehicles are trying to use the U-Turn facility meant for the upcoming vehicles.
In the same vein, coming from Kubwa and other towns on both sides to join the Abuja-Zuba road, there are mandatory signs with arrows directing the traffic to the right but there is no complementary ‘’No-Left turn’’ to prevent Drivers from driving against the traffic. There are so many cases of driving against the traffic in Abuja, causing accidents almost every week.
Governments must provide all the basic traffic signs and road markings at the ideal locations to further enhance safety on Nigeria roads bearing in mind that there is no common sense for Drivers and Riders who did not attend the requisite theory and practical training programmes in Driving Schools before being issued the Driver’sLicence. Caution is also often thrown overboard where Drivers who violate traffic rules are not sent to Driving Schools for correctional training but either bribe their ways or pay fines to continue driving in his or her ocean of ignorance.
On many roads in Abuja, vehicles do cluster on the speed lanes to drop and scout for passengers thereby causing several traffic problems. Yet, there is no traffic sign along most of those corridors indicating no waiting or no stopping in those areas. Neither are there traffic Officers to prevent this dangerous acts in those areas.
The sloppy portions of the Lokoja- Abuja road are lacking the necessary traffic signs and road markings particularly to warn the Drivers to slow down very well as they approach the slopes. These lapses have been causing accidents at those spots virtually every week with the bridges and road medians badly damaged. Many of the mobile road medians have been shifted by vehicles thereby becoming dangerous hazards to road users on these roads with no one bothering to reposition or remove the obstructions for years now. The erratic diversion of traffic on the same Abuja-Lokoja road without adequate traffic signs nor Traffic Officers has been causing accidents for some time now. Why must we fold our arms and allow the lives of innocent citizens to be wasted without taking actions until the lives of VIPs are lost to same negligence?
The Federal Government should please complete the Abuja-Lokoja- Okene road speedily and install the correct traffic signs and road markings to prevent further loss of lives on the roads.
The falling rocks on the Vom- Jos road has no signs of falling rocks. I advise that the Federal or State Government should engage the road construction company to cut the rocks and sand further inside, to prevent them from rolling to the roads. The same should be done on the Lokoja axis of the Abuja-Lokoja road. Governments need to get more proactive in their transport and road safety- related policies, actions and projects.
I hereby suggest an intensive training programme for the Officers of the relevant Ministries and Agencies responsible for the design, production and installation of traffic signs and road markings to enable them clearly and deeply understand the meanings and implications of the signs and markings for enforcement on the various roads.Governments must intensify enforcement to ensure our roads are safer every passing day.
I will conclude this article with the word of Lesley Young, the Chief Driving Examiner of the United Kingdom –‘’The UK has some of the safest roads in the world and we have a reputation of being well-mannered and considerate Drivers. However, while things have steadily been getting better, far many people are still being killed and seriously injured on our roads every year. So there’s still work to do!” If this can be said of UK which has a rate of 2.97 and ranked 169 out of 172 countries(one of the countries with least cases of road traffic crashes, deaths and injuries) can say that the number of people being killed on their roads are too many and that they have more works to do to further reduce the rate of road accidents and deaths in the country, what should be the resolve and actions of Nigeria which has a rate of 35.39 and ranked 9 on the list of the countries with high rates of road accidents and deaths out of 172 countries?
An adage says it is never late to become what you ought to have been. It therefore behooves on the Federal and State Governments and their Agencies to wake up to their responsibilities to further prevent the loss of innocent lives and valuable properties on Nigeria roads. State VIOs and FCT VIOs must get more committed, sincere and proactive in pre-Driver Licence theory and practical tests. The Federal Road Safety Commission must speedily complete the handshake between the Driving School Standardisation Programme(DSSP)Portal and the Driver Licence Portal to prevent further obtention of Driver Licence through the back door by half-baked drivers and untrained people.
In addition, the Governments must do something about the car racing games which a lot of youths and children are playing at the game centers. The games are developing high speed mentality in the children which would negatively affect their driving habit in the future.
Officials of Federal and State Governments or their Agencies should drive round all their roads to identify the black spots which are prone accidents and other points that need embankments, speed control bumps and other construction, or repairs to further promote free and safe flow of traffic as well as address the security challenges on these roads.
It is not the time of the day that vehicles move on these roads that matters if the needful are properly done by all concerned.
The Operation Officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission and the State Vehicle Inspection Officers should randomly stop Drivers randomly to test their knowledge of traffic signs and other essential traffic rules. Drivers that show lack of the knowledge of the traffic signs and rules should be sent to accredited Driving Schools for a mandatory 1-day refresher course for a fee not more than #2,000.00 (Two Thousand Naira Only) while traffic offenders are sent to Driving Schools for correctional training programme.
This, if entrenched in the Nigerian Road Safety Administration System, will cause all categories of Drivers including vehicle owners to get more committed to acquiring the requisite knowledge and skills for safe driving.
The States and FCT Vehicle Inspection Officers must ensure that no vehicle is issued Road wordiness certificates without the necessary physical inspection of such vehicles whether the process is computerized or not, and without making the process unnecessarily cumbersome nor laden with red-tapism.
The interior of the vehicles must also be inspected to see if the seats are safely arranged and installed among others interior checks.The interior of some vehicles, particularly commercial buses is not far from a coffin with dangerously exposed iron, shifting seats, etc. The lapses in the interior of some vehicles involved in road accidents were responsible for the high rate of deaths and injuries.
Your Excellencies, the President and Governors have sworn to an oath to protect the lives of their subjects. No price should be too much to pay to safe and secure these lives. We need to learn more from Israel, United Kingdom and the United States of America on how strongly they daily prove to the whole world through their words and actions that the lives of their citizens are precious and must not be wasted on the roads or anywhere.
God bless Nigeria.

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