Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) says that 30 per cent of truck drivers in the country have failed vision tests conducted by the commission.
The corps marshal made this known at the 2020 Truck Renewal Conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that most of the truck drivers had eyesight problems and the deficiency had made it more dangerous for them to drive at night, while describing most of the truck drivers as “lawless”.
He said that most of the trucks plying the roads had failed to operate with the minimal safety standards, adding that this anomaly had been part of the perceptible causes of many road accidents.
“We need to take action; 30 per cent of truck drivers failed the vision tests which we conducted. I commend the Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria (MOMAN) because most of its members comply with minimal safety standards but the others are yet to do so.
“Most of the trucks on our highways do not have safety valves; we must enforce the law of no safety valves, no loading of products.
“Just yesterday, a whole family was wiped off by an accident caused by a petrol truck at Felele, Lokoja; this is avoidable if the minimal safety measures were adhered to.
“This is the time to stop all the talk shop and swing into action to avoid the reoccurrence of such tragedies on our roads,” he said.
Oyeyemi urged MOMAN, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to join forces in ensuring that truck drivers complied with the extant traffic rules and regulations while driving on the roads.
The FRSC boss commended the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to revive rail transportation, saying that the policy would help to reduce the over-reliance on road transportation for the haulage of petroleum products.
“If the rail is functioning well, pressure on our roads will reduce,” he added.
Oyeyemi, nonetheless, called for full auditing of trucks and installation of safety valves on the trucks before using them on the road.
“MOMAN and NARTO must train and retrain their members, and DPR needs to begin recertification of fuel truck drivers to help reduce crashes on the road.
“The level of lawlessness is high on the side of the drivers, we witness average of 90 deaths per week in the country,” he added.
The Chairman of MOMAN, Adetunji Oyebanji, noted that the distribution of petroleum products through pipelines was the global practice, adding that the distribution of oil via pipelines had virtually stopped in the country due to lack of integrity.
He said that over 10,000 trucks travelled from the southern parts of Nigeria to the North, while about 80 per cent of these trucks had no skid, automatic breaks and other equipment needed for road safety.
“MOMAN is working to ensure replacement of trucks that do not meet safety requirements. We are here today to discuss framework for truck renewal.
“NARTO and MOMAN believe that safety of the road is possible; we will collaborate with FRSC to ensure the training of drivers,” he said.
Besides, Oyebanji called on oil marketers to ensure efficiency in product delivery, adding that efficiency would help marketers to remain afloat with the deregulation of the downstream oil sector.
Also, the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, called for road users’ adherence to safety measures on the road.
She said that most of the road accidents were caused by human factors such as using the mobile phone while driving, dangerous driving styles and excessive speeding, among others.
“Road crash is an epidemic in Nigeria and it has caused more deaths than diseases. It can be avoided if drivers can be more disciplined,” she said.
Saraki, who was represented by Mrs Angela Keyede, Assistant Director, Transport, in the ministry, said that government had embarked on road rehabilitation projects to address some of the challenges facing road transportation.
“Government is also reviving the rail services but I urge you to ensure replacement of old trucks with modern trucks to reduce the menace of crashes on our roads,” she added.
The National President of NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Othman, said that the group had remained relevant in the supply chain of petroleum products in the country.
He said that nearly 58 million litres of petrol, consumed by the citizens on a daily basis, were transported by NARTO members.
Othman, however, noted that government had yet to make policies to attract tangible investments in the sub-sector.
He pledged that NARTO members would comply with the road safety measures so as to reduce the number of road crashes in the country.