As the year draws to an end today, it has been a low-key yuletide celebration occasioned by the dreadful ‘Ember’ month myth of road crashes and accidents leading to many loss of lives.
Many of these crashes occurred in Ogun State, the gateway state out of Lagos to the rest of the country. Among the busy road corridors that witnessed influx of movement and traffic were Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Sagamu-Ìjẹ̀bú-Òde; Sagamu-Mosinmi-Ikorodu; Abeokuta-Ibadan; Abeokuta-Ọ̀tà-Lagos and Ota-Idiroko highway.
Ahead of the yuletide road rush, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) deployed 35,450 personnel including Special marshals across the country for its 2019 ember month special patrol operation with the theme ‘Road safety is a state of mind, stay alert’, which was aimed at ensuring safer roads during the festive periods. The special patrol operation commenced on December 15 to end on January 15, 2020.
The Guardian checks revealed yesterday that after 16 days of sustained campaign that entailed 24-hour enforcement along major highways, robust public enlightenment, prompt rescue/recovery services, stakeholder collaboration, Road Safety Observatory, uninterrupted motorized patrol, day time route lining, traffic control, and aerial surveillance, about 50 road crashes were recorded in the Ogun State highway corridors, leaving 159 persons injured and 19 others dead.
In the crashes monitored in the first 16 days of the campaign, there was an average of four road crashes a day with as many numbers of casualties. For every victim that died, about eight others were left with severe and minor injuries. Many were motorists while some were pedestrians standing by the roadside before vehicles hit them. The highest of the crashes occurred on Day 14 of the campaign, Friday, December 27 with three road crashes that left 35 people injured and four persons dead.
According to the FRSC Ogun State Sector Commander, Clement Oladele, the suspected causes of crashes included among others excessive speed leading to loss of control; brake failure; tyre burst, route violation, dangerous driving especially within construction areas leading to loss of control, fatigue, wrongful overtaking and mechanical deficiency of the vehicles.
The Sector Commander reminded motorists on the need to drive cautiously, while admonishing motorists to observe extra care especially while driving within road construction zones.
He noted that the areas where diversions were removed on the Lagos-Ibadan and Sagamu Interchange-Ijebu Ode-Ore-Benin expressways are still construction zones and motorists should therefore maintain the stipulated 50km per hour maximum speed limit as well as refrain from overtaking till they are clearly out of construction zone, as violators are liable to prosecution.
In one of the several incidences of yuletide tragedies on the road, a family of five died in a lone accident on Kubwa-Zuba expressway, Abuja on Christmas Day last week Wednesday. A 2005 Toyota SUV, with registration number, KUJ 615 TU, driven by one Samson Alowe, 42, crashed and burst into flames killing all the occupants, including his wife, Opeyemi, 40; daughter, Angel, 12; and two sons, Prosper, 10; and Fortune, 8. The entire five family members were burnt to death.
The FRSC Education Officer, Commander Bisi Kazeem, attributed the crash to loss of control. A preliminary report showed the crash occurred around 10.04p.m. adding that FRSC officials got to the scene within five minutes while fire service personnel extinguished the flames. The charred bodies of the victims were later evacuated to the Kubwa General Hospital mortuary before their burial on Friday.
As the first phase of the 2019 special end of year patrol ends, the FRSC Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, in a review of the exercise called on the motoring public to obey traffic rules and regulations. The Corps Marshal commended the performance of his personnel despite some challenges encountered in some parts of the country. According to him, the fact that traffic movements were orderly in most parts of the dreaded points across the federation toward the Christmas day and no reported cases of commuters sleeping on the road till the following day was a positive development.
Oyeyemi, however, urged those leading convoy vehicles to show greater restraint while passing through congested and built up areas to avoid causing disorderliness that could result in traffic chaos.