ROAD safety is all about putting measures in place to avoid or reduce the risk of road traffic mishaps, injuries and deaths. It is essential that societies device measures to make roads safer for both auto vehicle operators and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and even animals.
IN EIGHT days, Christians all over the world will celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. This will be followed a week after, by the New Year celebration.
ALTHOUGH Christmas is a Christian festival, its celebrations cut across ethnic and religious divides.
IN NIGERIA for example, people of the South-East would host festivities as part of the celebrations. This is because apart from being predominantly Christians, they utilise the holidays of the period to visit their home towns from their various locations within and outside the country. They use the period for family reunions and various activities such as house warming, burial ceremonies, community development projects, among others.
OVER the years, the period has been characterised by heavy vehicular movements, leading to a lot of road mishaps. Criminal activities such as armed robbery, ritual killings, kidnapping, among others have become rampant too. This is because a lot of people desire to get rich quick or make money to show off during the festivities.
GIVEN that a lot of lives have been lost during the Yuletide, in the heavy traffics of the season, there is need to ensure safer, more accessible and sustainable operation environment for all road users, including drivers, vehicle occupants and pedestrians.
ALREADY, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) is sensitising the populace and mapping out flashpoints on various roads for safety measures to be taken.
IN ANAMBRA State, the Commandant of the FRSC, Andrew Kumapayi, recently told o journalists that his command is upbeat with preparations for the festive period. He disclosed that the command will carry out robust traffic management and control at strategic locations where heavy vehicular movements usually occur during the yuletide to ease traffic congestion in all parts of the state.
ACCORDING to him, the management and control activity would help to ensure that holiday makers and road users who used to experience long hours of gridlock in those areas do not encounter it this season, adding that two camps will be established for 24-hour traffic control operations and immediate response to road incidentss in the state.
“MY HEADQUARTERS in Abuja has approved one camp for us at Onitsha but because we know our environment here and the traffic we usually experience during the yuletide, we decided to open a second one at Nteje. We hope to have our personnel there to offer services to road users day and night.
“THIS initiative also became necessary because we have realised that our people continue to travel at night and we can’t attend to them the way we should if we continue to run only day operations.”
KUMAPAYI informed that the major focus during the command’s Ember Months Operation would be to respond promptly to emergency situations on the roads such as road mishaps and removal of obstructions.
“We are partnering with the Anambra State Ministry of Health to be able to provide ambulance services for prompt evacuation of the injured persons during this season”.
APART from these measures by the FRSC in Anambra, drivers should avoid overloading, over speeding, use of phones while driving, hard drugs and drinking alcohol while driving. They should endeavor to always have enough sleep and rest before embarking on any journey, particularly long distance journeys.
ABOVE ALL, they must keep their vehicles in order, while vehicle owners who are fund of using derelict, abandoned and rickety vehicles on highways just to ferry more commuters during the season either to save money or make more money should have a rethink considering the enormous tragedies such acts have caused in the past.
AGAIN, law enforcement agencies, particularly the Police, officials of Anambra Road Traffic Agency (ARTMA) and Anambra Vigilante Group (AVG) should ensure adequate security on highways and community roads to prevent or stop armed robbery through effective patrols of roads.
PASSENGERS on their part, should learn to call drivers to order while over speeding or making dangerous over takings.
IT IS our belief that if drivers, passengers, law enforcement agencies and even pedestrians play their various roles, obey all traffic rules and remain law abiding, we will all live to enjoy and celebrate more this Christmas and other seasons in future.