Traffic Light Insanity | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Traffic Light Insanity

Posted: Sep 13, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Safe Drive

When I wrote on the piece,’’ Lane Indiscipline driving’’ last week, I was hoping for barrages of reactions slicing the Federal Road Safety Corps for its failure to tame such road users; I was however not prepared for the kind of surprises I received from two of my readers who stunned me by noon last Saturday by their text messages and phone calls.

On that faithful Saturday, I received two pleasant text messages from two very interesting readers whose comments I will forever cherish. The first was from Sir Victor Anoliefo, who not only expressed gratitude to me for the piece but took time to do a surface critique as a guide.

Sir Victor Anoliefo is the President and Founder, Abuja Literary Society. As a publisher and one whose commitment is mentoring, it was indeed a delight to have him show interest in my attempt to communicate safety ideals to the public. The second was from a reader whose details I do not know till date.

This is what he said, ‘my brother, you are doing very well with the public awareness on right motoring. I just read the one on lane indiscipline driving which is very educative.

I wonder whose duty is to arrest road traffic light offenders in Abuja town. The violation is done with impunity and nothing is done to such characters. I think something can be done to check the current abuse to avoid unnecessary rod crashes.

The icing came from Cliff, my brother from Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), who took me to the cleaners when he challenged me to take drastic actions, pledging to back up my enforcement with detailed coverage to be aired on the NTA platform.

Although I partly spoke about traffic light infraction last week, I have chosen to dwell more on it this week. When I referred to this insanity last week, this is how I captured the contents of the Revised Highway Code; ‘’When coming to a junction, obey any lane indication arrows marked on the road.

These markings are also there at roundabouts, traffic light junctions and highways. At the Traffic Light at Junctions, although green light means you may go, do not go forward if other vehicles ahead are held up at the junction.

When the red and amber lights are showing together you must stop. It is an offence to pass a junction when the red and amber lights are shown. Make sure you stop at the stop line (double lines) to enable you see the lights’ ‘Unfortunately it is common to see motorists treat the traffic light as a souvenir.

But how bad is the traffic light infraction across the country? What percentage of drivers really jumps traffic lights? This question reminds me of a heated argument I had with Osita Chidoka, immediate past Corps Marshal of the FRSC, who during a Management meeting to consider a report on this madness sought to know my take as the spokesman of the Corps. I couldn’t hold my anger as I expressed my reservation on the finding of the commissioned survey.

My boss was quick to guide me, saying that I was reacting like every other Nigerian whose perception is based on the flip second observations while driving, noting that my views have no   empirical foundation.

  The survey I am referring to was commissioned sometimes in 2013 to NOIPolls to do a road attitudinal survey across six locations in Nigeria to measure the level of compliance on the road.

 The survey according to the report was conducted across pre- identified corridors within nine hours of the day (morning, noon and evening) for twelve days. The observation monitored the following: lane discipline, seatbelt/ crash helmet compliance, compliance to overloading rules, traffic light /road signs obedience and the number plate usage.

The survey was carried out in six locations; Abuja, Lagos, Owerri, Benin, Kaduna, and Gombe and  was conducted via observational study.

Six corridors selected by FRSC were observed across all locations and six extra corridors were added by NOIPolls, bringing the   total of corridors observed to twelve.

Observation was done between 8:30 am – 5:30 pm daily for 5 days during which a total of 70,180 vehicles/ bikes were observed across all six locations with 29,482 on the highway, and 40,698 on township roads. A breakdown further shows that the total number of vehicle/bikes  observed by location were thus;13,426 in Abuja, 11,503 in Gombe, 11,903 in Owerri, 7936 in Benin, 10,435 in Lagos, and 14,977 in Kaduna.

83 percent of the total observed drivers/riders obeyed road signs / traffic light with more observed on township roads (87%) than highways (77%). Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory had 98percent which was the highest number of driver/rider that obeyed road signs/ traffic lights.

  The highest number of drivers/riders that obeyed road signs /traffic lights was recorded on Monday (96%) and the highest rate of obedience was shown by other car drivers/riders (86%)

From the point of observation, the report shows that in Abuja, the vast majority (98%) of vehicles / bikes observed showed lane discipline. This report contradicts the position I took last week and the same position most Nigerians would bet as the reality.

The  survey however, showed that the highest proportion (31%) of vehicles / bikes that did not show lane discipline was recorded on Sunday while  only (2%) of the observed driver/riders did not adhere to road signs/ traffic lights and of this number, tricycle riders (6%) were most disobedient to road signs / traffic light.