Road Safety Challenges and National Development in Nigeria
Nigeria's urban and rural roadways frequently present dangers and safety challenges. Unsafe systems are a significant contributor to this. Jaywalking by pedestrians and catastrophic auto accidents are brought on by inadequate traffic management and shoddy infrastructure. Due to a lack of literacy and education, people drive in many remote, urban, and suburban areas of Nigeria without the necessary skills. Many key places lack pedestrian bridges, which results in unnecessary traffic accidents and even fatalities. We face a significant health risk due to the air pollution caused by unsafe vehicles.
Road safety issues have been highlighted as one of the leading causes of death globally and as the leading killer of young people between the ages of 15 and 29 for more than a decade, particularly in low- and middle-income economies. An estimated 1.35 million lives are lost to traffic-related accidents annually. About 20 and 50 million people experience non-fatal injuries, many becoming disabled. Over 90% of fatalities on the world's roads happen in low- and middle-income nations, where 48% of the world's vehicles are in use (Global Status Report on Road Safety. WHO, 2018).
Nigeria is one of the African economies impacted by traffic accidents, with a death rate per 100,000 people of roughly 21.2%. (Global Status Report on Road Safety, WHO 2018). Whether they occur on city streets, state highways, or rural roads, Nigeria's traffic safety problems and increasing risks are pretty evident. According to the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics NBS (2018), a total of 5008 road transport cases resulted in 2623 road users dying and 16903 others being injured in the first half of 2018. Data on road accident statistics provided by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), an established organization of road marshals that keeps track of accidents and road conditions in Nigeria, 1,331 people died in vehicle accidents in the second quarter of 2018, and 87 passengers were abducted. Due to this, road safety is now an issue (NBS, 2018; Vanguard, 2018). According to data from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria has one of the worst fatalities in Africa, with 33.7 (34) deaths per 100,000 persons annually. Vanguard (2018). Concerns have been expressed by the World Health Organization over the absence of safe roadways, which also affects public health.
The overall effects of road safety challenges on the socioeconomic wellbeing of any society impact households that serve as the "storehouse of the labor force needed by the macroeconomic producing sectors. The long-term effects of traffic accidents, such as the loss of the family breadwinner and the cost of post-crash care and rehabilitation, can cause a family to fall into poverty in addition to the enormous misery they inflict. Proper implementation of road safety policies and practices can meet the objective of reducing road crashes and significant avoidable losses in human and material resources on the nation's roads, many of which are also in poor condition.
Conclusion and Recommendation
A safe system approach is necessary to achieve national road safety, which lowers the risk of fatalities and deaths in traffic, improves personnel capacity and competence in managing road safety, broadens and sustains stakeholder engagement, and repositions, strengthens, and supports road safety initiatives. All individuals involved in creating and improving comprehensive road safety policies and long-term implementation plans in Nigeria must also share responsibility for this. Despite the need for policy shifts and implementation, it is crucial to consider all factors that affect road safety, such as the level of infrastructure for roads, including their capacity and availability, the condition of those roads for motorists, the prevalence of overspeeding, and the actions of drivers as other road users that contribute to the rise in road fatalities and deaths, particularly among many young people in many parts of the nation. It would take more coordinated efforts and comprehensive system-based policy reform, including the government and road users, to improve road safety in Nigeria. However, there were discrepancies in how people perceived the efficacy of actions like traffic management, road design, and maintenance. For the expanding young population in Nigeria, there is a technical need to develop road safety policies and practices and provide evidence-based solutions that improve lives, strengthen communities, and boost the effectiveness of public policy.