The human factor has been attributed as the cause of the recent road accidents in Jalingo, which occurred at separate occasions, where up to ten lives were lost and injuries sustained.
This was revealed by the Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, [FRSC] Taraba state, Godwin Omiko, in an exclusive interview with Taravoices recently.
Taravoices: Can you give an overview of the road sub-sector as related to Taraba state in the preceding year?
Sector Commander: Thank you very much. We know the location of Taraba in the map as a gate from the far north east down to the south – south through Ogoja down to Calabar to the south-east and the middle belt.
In that respect, it carries a lot of traffic. Taraba as the food basket of the nation though the governor will always tell you that the basket is in Benue state, the food is here in Taraba.
Taraba, being a healthy food production environment, we have a lot of people coming to patronise the farm products, and cows are reared more in the Mambilla plateau. So this also attracts some movement.
At the same time the other economic activities regarding trees and woods, we see people come all over the country to patronise.
Now, movement of vehicles from one point to another is through the federal government and state government roads. Most of the state government roads are in good condition, and federal government owned roads are the ones that of course need serious attention.
The roads from Wukari for instance down to Numan, from Lau down to Yola, from Wukari down to Gembu, all these roads are federal government roads, and they are crying for help.
We’ve done a lot of survey and road audit and some of this findings we’ve sent to headquarters and the responsible government department to help improve the road condition.
The state under the governance of his Excellency, Gov. Darius Dickson Ishaku has done very well for internal road maintenance.
Some roads need to be created; there are roads that need to be rehabilitated. So generally, we can say that close to 80% of the state roads are motorable and good while less than 40% of the federal government road are in good condition.
Taravoices: As the Sector Commander, what do you think are the causes of the road accident in Jalingo metropolis of recent?
Sector Commander: Thank you very much. I will start by saying that the nature of the road to a great extent may have no direct impact on the issues of road crashes.
For example, leave a car in a very bad spot for ten years, nobody will die because the car is not moving. It will just remain there, but it only takes a bad driver who enters that vehicle and drives roughly on a bad road that a crash will occur.
When we look at the causes of road traffic crashes generally, the drivers cause 90% of road traffic accidents; that’s the human element.
We have three basic elements: the human factor, mechanical factor and the environmental factor. The environmental factor talks about the roads, buildings, weather condition, then the mechanical factor is about the vehicle, whether the brakes, tyres and engine are in good shape.
Now, the human element includes you the driver, the other person who is driving the other car, the pedestrian that is walking along the road, the hawkers who hawk along the road.
In recent times, we had crashes in this Jalingo metropolis especially along the federal highway along Jalingo to Wukari and down to Numan as the case.
Precisely on Monday, we had a trailer that had an encounter with a tanker and keke napep killing a man who was seated in front of his house.
When we look at this, it was not because the road was bad but the driver of this vehicle disobeyed the rules of the road. Now, if you look at the crash that happened in Nukai, you will realise two possibilities.
One possibility is that the man lost brake, the second was that probably, the man was over speeding because if he is not over speeding, even if the brake fails, he should still have control of the vehicle.
This was what happened, he was on top speed and had an encounter with the keke and smashed the driver and his passengers. He skidded off and went into a compound, and the driver struggled otherwise he could have brought down a house but managed to maneuver.
Unfortunately, a man who was ill was killed because he couldn’t run for his dear life. So, exactly what caused that crash was over speeding, break failure and consequent loss of life.
Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the man has disappeared. Three others were injured and taken to the hospital.
As a result of that, we had an interface with the state ministry of works and requested… (You see it is not right to have speed bumps on the highway) but with what happened in Mile 6, we had no option than to request that speed bumps should be put in place.
And by the grace of God, the commissioner has fixed the speed bumps in Mile 6 and at Nukai. So, we expect the federal or the state government to dualize that road from welcome to Jalingo from the northern axis to welcome to Jalingo from the southern axis.
If this road is dualized, it will reduce road carnages. And it will also add to the aesthetics of the town. But that is a capital intensive project which I believe his Excellency may not shy away from undertaking.
The road shoulders have been eaten up by erosion, and if a vehicle finds itself in danger and needs to veer off, it is already heading to crash.
Just as he has graciously done along Hammaruwa Way, somebody can easily go to the shoulders and park. As an organization, we came up with the idea of speed limiting device for trucks, tankers, lorries and commercial vehicles to install them in their vehicles.
Apart from that, we undertake on routine inspection to ensure that people do the right thing on the road. If you are on the road, try and obey traffic rules and regulations.
Don’t overtake on bends, don’t overtake if you can’t see the car coming before you and people should exercise caution and when you are in a busy place, you should try and slow down.
Use the seat belt once you get into the vehicle, regularly. Let us drive safely and remember our loved once are waiting for us at home.