Corps Marshal, Oyeyemi.
Realising the dangers, risks and the rising cases of fatalities occasioned by road traffic crashes recorded at nights, the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi has advised fleet operators, commercial drivers and patronisers of night trips, including private vehicle owners to desist henceforth from embarking on night travels, adding that night trips which are often characterised by poor visibility, fatigue, sleeping on wheels, excessive speed among others are not only unsafe, but utterly dangerous.
Speaking through Bisi Kazeem, the Corps Public Education Officer, Oyeyemi gave the warning while reacting to some reports of fatal crashes recorded at nights at the beginning of the year which led to the death of several road users and left others with different degrees of injuries.
The Corps Marshal while speaking extensively on why night trips should be avoided, lamented that on January 5, 2021 alone, an avoidable fatal crash occurred in Kabba, Kogi State where 2 vehicles were caught up in a head-on collision as a result of a combination of some factors revealed to be fatigue and sleeping on the steering.
The crash involved the driver of a white Toyota Hiace bus ( MSA 942 XA) that contravened COVID-19 protocols on physical distancing by overloading the bus with 18 passengers instead of the prescribed 8 passengers and a green Iveco trailer ( AKA 788 XC) carrying 07 passengers. Out of the 25 passengers on board the two vehicles, 08 were killed while 17 sustained various injuries.
Similarly, while maintaining that crashes that occur at night are more fatal than the ones that happen in the day time, Oyeyemi also lamented that just on January 9, 2021 two vehicles; a white Sienna (KUG 538 BJ) and a Sharon bus without a number plate were involved in a fatal crash on Akwanga-Keffi road leaving the entire 17 passengers on board burnt beyond recognition.
Speaking further, the Corps Marshal disclosed that intelligence report reveals that most fleet operators and other vehicle owners, including private vehicle owners who are addicted to night journeys, do so for selfish economic gains, unnecessary overloading of vehicles with both passengers and goods and to avoid arrest and enforcement on physical distancing by FRSC patrol teams.
He warned that in as much as the Corps does not have the statutory powers to ban night trips, it has become very critical and a matter of urgency for patronisers of night trips to retrace their steps and plan their journeys in the day time because often times, when crash occurs away from FRSC rescue points, it is difficult to access help from motorists at night.
In the same vein, while listing out the dangers associated with night travels, like poor visibility, fatigue, sleeping on wheels, dangerous driving, overloading, speeding among others, Oyeyemi also warned passengers whose journeys could wait for the next day to resist any temptation that could lead them into patronising fleet operators at night.
The Corps Marshal warned that these deaths were not only avoidable and preventable but totally unacceptable hence the need for all to take caution.
” On our part, the Corps will continue to double its efforts by constantly engaging the motoring public nationwide, through aggressive awareness and sensitisation campaign, until the desired result is achieved” he added.