Worried by the rising cases of road accidents as shown by various researches in recent time,
the immediate past Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa has raised alarm over the issue of distracted driving as a growing cause of many crashes on Nigerian roads that must be addressed to barest minimal level.
Ashafa made the remarks, in his address at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Annual Stakeholders Conference on Road Transit and Mass Transit Operations in Nigeria, with the theme; “Road Mobility and Safety, ” held in Abuja.
Ashafa, while reviewing the causes of road crashes on Nigerian roads, stated: “According to Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, speed violations were responsible for 52 percent of the total road accidents reported. The Bureau concluded that dangerous driving and wrongful overtaking followed closely as they both accounted for nine per cent and eight per cent respectively of the total road accidents. To highlight dangerous driving a bit further, the more contemporary challenge of distracted driving, that is, (drivers fiddling with gadgets and mobile devices while driving) may pose the highest danger on our roads in the years to come. Perhaps it is about time to call on the appropriate agency in charge to impose stiffer penalties on drivers indulging in this act.”
The senator, who also seized the occasion to highlight the importance of transportation in economic advancement, quoted the World Bank Group’s position on transportation in economic development and stated that “Efficient transport is a critical component of economic development, globally and nationally. Transport availability affects global development patterns and can be a boost or a barrier to economic growth within individual nations.
“Transportation investments link factors of production together in a web of relationships between producers and consumers to create a more efficient division of production, leverage geographical comparative advantage, and provide the means to expand economies of scale and scope.”
Further to the above, Ashafa, also praised the strides of President Muhamnadu Buhari’s administration in the area of infrastructure development stating that “Since its inception in 2015, the administration of President Buhari has left no one in doubt about its strong interest in infrastructural development. One of the major beneficiaries of this developmental drive has been the transportation sector of our economy.”
He therefore, urged stakeholders to begin to contemplate the future of mass transportation, noting that “the world continues to evolve and as such we must also begin to contemplate the future of mass transportation and the challenges that they portend.
“We will eventually come to deal with phenomena such as driverless cars in the near future. We must, therefore, deploy technology to our advantage. We must consider the role of the IOT “internet of things” in transportation for vehicular and pedestrian safety.
“We should also consider the Implementation of innovative best-practice safety solutions, upgrade our urban road infrastructure, prioritize the safety of vulnerable road users, deploy decision support systems and other evidence-based tools to support urban mobility, promote safety policies, promote public transport as a less risky mode of smart urban mobility, apply standards for testing and introducing autonomous vehicles and take bold steps to further reduce unsafe road user behaviour (such as; distracted driving, excessive speed and of alcohol).”
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