The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has urged haulage operators to partner the Commission to bring about a new orientation among truck drivers nationwide.
The Commission said its findings over the years revealed that most road crashes are traceable to bad attitude of drivers.
Corps Marshal of FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, who spoke through the FRSC Commander, Lagos State Sector Higinus Omege, described haulage business as great business opportunities for operators to play the game by the rules.
Oyeyemi spoke at the 10th anniversary/conference of Haulmace, a haulage and logistics magazine with the theme: Developing a stakeholders approach to driver management and professionalism for safety in cargo transportation for Nigeria.’
“If we keep on doing the same thing over and over again, we will keep getting the same result,” Boboye began.
He continued: “There is the need by commercial haulage operators to change our approach even in the management of our drivers.
“As much as FRSC has continued to encourage private driving school operators, our findings show that none of them has a driving range earmarked for training of truck drivers. Most of the drivers driving trucks on our roads today evolved through apprenticeship method. They need retraining and reorientation.
“Our statistics also revealed that about 57 per cent of road crashes is as a result of bad attitude. So we strongly believe that through this orientation, we change their attitude towards the use of the roads.
“Crashes occur globally, but what makes the difference is the death rate. So what we are aiming is that even if the crash occurs on Nigerian roads, it should not bring about deaths. Therefore, all commercial haulage operators should join hands with us.”
He added that the Commission is extending a handshake with stakeholders within the haulage circuit, noting that it will also be willing to partner with them in the aspect of training of their truck drivers.
Boboye lamented that Nigeria road design was primarily for motorists. This dependence on road, he explained, is a major factor towards the chaotic traffic situation particularly the metropolitan roads.
“Our road design never takes cognizance of pedestrian walkway, tricycle and motorcycle tracks. This is the reason why you will see vehicles, motorcycles and tricycles struggling for survival on the same road resulting in traffic chaos, ”he lamented.
He nonetheless expressed optimism that the proposed National Transport Policy which is currently before the National Executive Council, would streamline some of the hiccups that have bedeviled transportation in Nigeria.
National President, Association of Maritime Truck Owners Chief Remi Ogungbemi, bemoaned the deplorable state of the nation highways, adding that ‘rickety roads translates to rickety trucks’.
He appealed to governments to provide terminals for truck to forestall a scenario where truck drivers park their trucks haphazardly.
“Government must ensure constant maintenance of our roads,” Ogungbemi said.
“For instance, Tin Can Island is supposed to be one of the best roads because of our operation. But If the roads are not good, what can the drivers do?
“Governments perhaps need to have dedicated lanes for the trucks. Imagine a road that is not supposed to accommodate more than 5000 trucks, but you see more than 200,000 trucks on the same road.
“There is also need for constant engagement with the drivers. It is not about bringing task force to harass us every time. They need to also check on us regularly, know our pains and challenges. It might interest you that the bottom line of our problem is lack of enough terminals. Thank God that the terminal in Tin Can which was once used as motor park has now been returned to us.”
He said over the years, the human population and that of vehicles have increased, thereby putting more pressure on the highways. He suggested that government should introduce automation into haulage operation to make the challenges experienced on roads more flexible.
Earlier Convener of Haulmace Alfred Okugbeni, craved more organised haulage industry from government and stakeholders.
Going down memory lane, he recalled the magazine, through the annual conference, has over the years succeeded in popularizing the haulage business in addition to bringing about a confluence between the private and public operators, among others