Automobiles e.g cars, buses, trailers, motorcycles, etc have killed millions of people since their inceptions. They have injured/paralysed millions of people as well. They have created grief and sorrow in so many families. They have killed many innocent children many of whom could have been doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountant, architects, governors, presidents, etc. They have rendered many women widows.
According to WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2017, road crashes kill approximately 1.25 million people every year worldwide and between 20 and 50 million sustain non-fatal injuries.
In Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of lives lost to road traffic accidents from January 2013 to June 2018 are as follows:
2013 – 5,539 deaths; 2014 – 4,430 deaths; 2015 – 5,400 deaths; 2016 – 5,053 deaths; 2017 – 5,049 deaths; January to June, 2018 – 2,623 deaths.
In USA, the National Safety Council estimated that 40,100 people were killed in 2017 accidents. NHTSA estimated that car accidents killed 37,461 people in 2016.
In India, road crashes caused 1,050,935 deaths in 2016, and 1,046,377 deaths in 2017. (Times of India).
But, ……. the automobiles are just machines. They are inanimate objects. How would they have killed so many people?
In actual sense, automobiles kill nobody. Guess who are responsible for the millions of deaths on our roads! The main people who are responsible these deaths and injuries on our roads are the drivers. They are the ones responsible for the killings and maimings on our roads. They are the ones operating the beasts. If the drivers are very careful, no matter the nature of the conditions they find themselves while driving, accidents could be avoided.
Some of the ways through which the drivers cause accidents on our roads are as follows:
- Drunk Driving: Many drivers drink alcohol and get intoxicated just before or while driving. For instance, in the mid 1970s, alcohol was a factor in over 60% of traffic fatalities. Today alcohol is involved in 37% of all traffic deaths among persons aged 16 to 20. (NIH Report – Alcohol Related Traffic Deaths). In early 2018 on one Sunday morning, in Lekki area of Lagos State, Nigeria, a man was coming back from club in his jeep. He was terribly drunk and was driving on top speed. He rammed his jeep into a passengers bus killing virtually all the passengers in the bus! If you’re a driver and drink alcohol, you’re a potential killer!
2. Over-speeding: Many drivers over-speed. They speed more than the required speed limit. They ignore the speed limit and drive 20, 30 and sometimes 80 km/h over the speed limit. Traveling above the required speed limit can cause accident. For the government to have arrived at a particular speed limit, they have their safety reasons. Know that the faster you drive, the slower will be your reaction time if you need to prevent an accident. In 2007, 39% of 15 to 20-year-old male drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding. (Traffic Safety Facts, 2007 Data). If you’re a driver who overspeeds, you need to stop that. Watch the video below. Swipe to the right and watch:
3. Sleeping while driving: This sounds ridiculous. However, it’s true. Many drivers doze off while driving. This is very dangerous! A lot of passengers have been killed as a result of their drivers dozing off while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. If you’re a driver who sleeps while driving, you’re a potential killer! If you’re tired or feeling sleepy, please don’t drive! You need to consider the lives of other road users.
4. Being distracted while driving: A distracted driver is a motorist whose attention is diverted from the road and his/her driving. Some of the things that cause distractions while driving include: making phone calls, sending a text message, eating food, drinking, thinking about something else while driving, watching dramas on the road while driving, etc. According to United States Department of Transportation, distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives in 2017 alone. So, please pay attention while driving.
5. Bad Roads: Poor road conditions has actually led to the deaths of a lot of passengers and drivers. Although, if a road is bad, a very careful driver would still drive through the road safely without an accident. The politicians who collect money for road repair/construction and embezzle the money have the deaths of the victims on their necks.
6. Unaccompanied Learner Drivers: Many deaths and injuries have been caused by unaccompanied learner drivers. If you’re still a learner, please, don’t drive alone. Only drive with an experienced driver beside you. It is criminal for you to drive alone. Don’t go and kill or maim people!
7.Others: These include: driving faulty vehicles, disregard for road signs, reckless driving, night driving, rain, tailgating, driving under the influence of drugs, ice, snow, tire blowouts, animal crossings, fog, improper turning especially on the highways, wrong-way driving, etc.
Another reason why the accident rate has remained unabated in most part of the world is the fact that the road safety officers have not been diligent with their work. Just imagine what happens in the video below. A petrol trailer tank leaking while in motion on the road!
Road safety officers should please, be more diligent with their work to have accident-free roads in the world.
For drivers, let’s drive safely. Life is precious. Watch the video below:
(Photo Credits: www.theodysseyonline.com, www.slideshare.net, www.pothole.info, www.youtube.com, www.pioneerinstitute.org, www.minicklaw.com, www.timesofisrael.com, www.express.co.uk.
Video Credit: Youtube/YuriLee33)