Distracted driving, a major cause of road crashes – Experts

WARRI – An appeal has gone to all road users to avoid acts capable of causing distraction to them while behind the wheels.

This formed part of a 10-point communique issued at the end of the 2017 Sectoral workshop , organised by Federal Road Safety Corps ( FRSC ) Special Marshals R.S 5.2, Delta State Command in Warri.

The workshop which had as its theme, “Road Safety Is Not A Privilege But A Right ” witnessed Road Safety Experts, representatives of the Armed Forces and other stakeholders from across the country in attendance.

Engr. Harriman Oyofo while delivering the lead paper said, he was speaking from his wealth of experience spanning over three decades in the business of Road Safety.

Simply defining Distracted Driving as “Anything you do behind the wheels other than driving”, Engr. Oyofo expressed worry over the increase in road crashes.

According to him, things like chatting, texting, tweeting, reading searching for your favourite music track, smoking eating, drinking, grooming, operating systems, strayed thinking among others are distractions on the road.

He said, “suddenly, DISTRACTED DRIVING has popped up as a major motoring hazards across the world. Recent studies of fatal road collisions in some countries show that DISTRACTED DRIVING is now one of the leading causes of deaths on the road and highways with young adults being the worst affected.”

“It is of such magnitude that safety experts are having sleepless nights trying to figure out how to bring this worrisome under control using enforcement, education, engineering and out -of -the box approaches. Some states in the United States of America have enacted new legislature prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving, hands free or not, in a bid to wrestle the problem to the ground and save more lives on the road.”

Earlier in his opening remark, Delta State Special Marshall Coordinator, Mr Dickson Amromawhe said more people have been killed by road accident than are being killed by any disease in the world.

According to him, over 1.3 million people die yearly globally as a result of road accident, adding that over 20 million people suffer from road accident injuries.

Amromawhe emphasised, “that it is our right to insist that drivers drive safety and everything must be done to achieve this.”
The Sector Commander of FRSC in Delta, Mr Rindom Kumven, earlier in his welcome address, disclosed that about 1.3 million people die globally in road accident annually.

He added that road accident was the tenth leading cause of death in the world which called for a serious concern.

“With this worrisome statistics, we have set aside areas of actions we need to work towards.

“They are: improvement on Road Safety management, safer road user, safer vehicles and first class management.

“We need to intensify the enlightenment of road users and we all have a role to play to ensure our roads are designed with sufficient road signs.”

“We have identified some flash points in Delta that we will station our men during this festive season and we will also do a lot of sensitisation.”

He added that , about 12,000 special marshals have been deployed to Edo, Delta and Anambra states ahead of the Yuletide.

The National Coordinator, Special Marshal, Dr Sidi Titsi Gwambe, in a message to the people, urged them to intensify campaign on the need for a safer road.

Gwambe represented by Engr. Raphael Asekhome, the Deputy National/Zonal Coordinator, Special Marshal in his remark said lack of apathy for other road users is also partly responsible for road crashes.

On his part, the Deputy National Coordinator, Mr. Kehinde Adeleye challenged all Special Marshals to do all within their power to preserve lives.

A 10-point communique issued end of the workshop included: A call to enact byelaws to enforce prohibition of importation of used tyres; constant use of seat belts while driving; a call on road safety organs to enforce compliance through use of monitoring device; a call on organs of government in charge of issuing drivers licence to ensure proper screening of drivers before issuance of licence among others.

Highlight of the event was the investiture of honorary special marshals amongst whom were Mr. Sam Daibo, Manger Chevron, Chief Charles Obule, Deacon Chris Iyovwaye ,CEO Wellman Group, Mrs.Dorcas Mojisola, Pastor Tony Mene, and Mr. Chris Nwabueze.

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