Did you know that road accidents are the biggest cause of death on Nigerian roads?
Statistics from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) shows that there were 7,657 road accidents by Week 47 of 2016 and 4,005 individuals died either at the scene or from immediate complications from the accidents.
We generally know that some of causes of road disaster include break failure, over-speeding, overtaking at dangerous turns, tyre bursts and so on. There is however, one cause of accidents that we tend to overlook: THE EXHAUSTED DRIVER.
You may have seen a sign board that says ‘Tiredness Kills’, it is a wise saying.
Inter-city road transport vehicles account for a large number of these accidents.
I was travelling by road from Lagos to Abuja last weekend aboard ‘the second bus’ of one of the popular inter-city transport services and some of the passengers got talking with the captain as the drivers prefer to be addressed.
The driver was asked how often he gets to rest, having driven for a minimum of 10 hours daily. In fact, this particular trip was longer because the road at Ibillo, Edo state, Southern Nigeria, had a day before, given way and a bus was reported to have fallen inside the ‘broken road’.
This meant that drivers had to either go through Ekiti and Kabba, a longer road with a lot less traffic or face the mad traffic at Ibillo; our driver chose the longer route which took 13 hours.
The driver, to our amazement mentioned that though the company he works with, offers one off-day for each driver weekly but that he fancies working at stretches, so he can get a full week off! He revealed that he had been driving the bus for one month, every single day!
In his own words, ‘September 11 go make am one month since I don dey road’.
Where do they get to sleep when they finish driving such long distances? Your guess is as good as mine.
Thankfully, the trip was safe regardless of the bumpy roads. Remember we went with the second bus to leave the terminal. The bus we were in, overtook the first bus to leave from the terminal that morning, later in the evening, somewhere around Lokoja.
The state of these drivers who take us around, call for huge concern. It’s good to know that these companies care for their vehicles, the lifestyle and health impact on these drivers need to also be put into serious consideration.