The Killer Trucks | Independent Newspapers Limited
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The Killer Trucks

Posted: Sep 8, 2015 at 3:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The level of carnage and wanton damage of properties as a result of articulated heavy duty vehicle accidents on our roads in the country is on the increase. Every now and then, the media is inundated with news of one heavy duty vehicle mishap or the other. If it is not an oil tanker, it would be a container loaded with heavy cargoes of all kind. These have become common sights on Nigerian roads with scores of innocent people killed almost daily. This is, indeed, worrisome and calls for urgent redress.

cartoonMost of these trucks are rickety with little or nothing to fasten the containers firmly to them. The result is that they end up falling off while passing through the already dilapidating roads in the country and at times when there are heavy vehicular and human movements. Just recently, a truck conveying a cargo laden container fell off the bridge at Ojuelegba in Lagos, killing at least three people and destroying several vehicles. If this development is left unchecked, people’s lives would continue to be put at risk as no one could say exactly who the victims of such disaster could be at any point in time.

The situation has even taking a worse dimension as containers, oil tankers and other heavy duty vehicles used for haulage activities have gone beyond the restriction of the highways to the hinter lands – the inner roads in the cities. What is more, these vehicles certainly cause unprecedented damage to these road infrastructures. They discomfort other road users who cannot enjoy smooth movement, due to incessant obstructions and traffic gridlocks as well as the attendant untold hardship they cause to the residents. The unfortunate thing is that there are relevant laws to check such incontrovertible peril. But due to lack of enforcement and implementation, the status quo has remained. The recent container accident at Ojuelegba, Lagos is an example of what we get when laws are not enforced effectively or are not even formulated to address such anomalies in the first place.  Perhaps government and, by extension, other relevant agencies need to be proactive in carrying out their statutory responsibilities. As it obtains in other sane climes, enforcing requisite rules to the letter even as the necessary infrastructures are in place regulates heavy-duty vehicular movements.

We urge governments at the Federal and State levels to strongly consider the provision of alternative routes for haulage trucks through road infrastructural development that put such special vehicles into consideration. Beyond this, government must, again consider an aggressive revamping of the rail transport system, considering that it is the safest and cost effective means of hauling goods across the country. There is no doubt that with the right attitude, infrastructure and regulatory framework, the spate of carnage that is being recorded from heavy-duty vehicle mishaps across the country will reduce.