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Prevalent of road traffic crashes in Nigeria

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By Usman Oladimeji

NBS and FRSC found that 13,656 accidents cases occurred in 2022.

According to a report by the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), Nigeria has the highest number of road fatalities per capita. The country has the highest rate of road accident deaths (52.4 per 100,000 people) in the world, as per the GRSF 2014 report. Nigeria, together with Ethiopia, South Africa, and Sudan, contributes to half of the road injury and death toll in sub-Saharan Africa as shown in the report titled “Burden of Road Injuries in Sub-Saharan Africa”. When compared to some of the countries with the lowest death rates in the world, such as Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, these figures are staggering.

Recently, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) reports that over 40,000 people die annually from road traffic crashes in Nigeria. Data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the FRSC on their websites found that there were 13,656 accidents in 2022. More than 35%, or 4,792 of the total number of cases, happened to occur in the North-Central region. In addition, the region was responsible for about 31% of all traffic accidents in 2021, or 4,056 of a total of 13,027. There were a total of 6,456 mortality in crashes that year, with 1,824 of the deaths occurring in the North-Central region.

Over speeding contributes to the high rate of traffic fatalities.

While the North-Central region is generally a high-risk zone, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) accounts for most of the crashes and deaths within the region in 2022. The National Bureau of Statistics and the Federal Road Safety Commission report that about 18% of all road traffic accidents reported in the country in 2022 happened within the FCT. In 2022, there were 1,803 collisions in the FCT, a 61 percent increase from the 1,117 in 2021. Also note that North-Central Nigeria drivers are more likely to be involved in car crashes than those in South-East Nigerian.

Also in 2022, 3,402 cars crashes were recorded in south-western Nigeria, making it one of the regions with the most RTC cases. The South-East region of Nigeria saw a relatively low number of traffic fatalities (760) and injuries (859) in 2022. As a leading cause, NBS cited over speeding as a major factor contributing to the high rate of traffic fatalities in Nigeria. Other common causes of road car crashes in the FCT and across the North-Central area include disregard for traffic signs and signals, reckless driving, disregard for posted speed limits, and amiss overtaking.

Road injuries and deaths are grossly underreported in Nigeria.

The FRSC’s Corps of Public Education Officer (CPEO) Bisi Kazeem also stated in a report to the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) that speeding and other violations of traffic laws account for a large percentage of accidents in the North-Central zone. He said it has been seen that motorists and other road users are more likely to follow the rules of the road when FRSC officers are present. As a result, the management of the corps has resolved to adequately deploy employees to monitor for violations and educate drivers about the rules when necessary.

Despite high number of RTC cases recorded in Nigeria, the GRSF research notes that road injuries and deaths are grossly underreported in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan nations. In most countries, GRSF estimates are double the official government numbers; in Nigeria, for example, GRSF estimate is 14 times the country’s official road death toll. Speaking with the ICIR, Bisi Kazeem, CPEO of the FRSC, emphasized efforts being made to reduce speed violations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and all across Nigeria.

Special patrol operations for speed control are deployed.

Kazeem mentioned the deployment of speed calming at strategic junctions, mandatory enforcement of installation of speed limiting devices in commercial vehicles, deployment of radar gun at strategic locations, special patrol operation targeted towards speed, and drug and alcohol test for drivers as measures being taken to combat speeding. He said that in order to reduce over speeding in the FCT, weekly rallies and public education events are held in parking garages, and that arbitrary parking regulations are strictly enforced.

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