By Angela Nwokolo
May the souls of all dead road crash victims on Nigerian roads rest in peace and at the bosom of the Almighty. Indeed, it is sad to imagine the huge economic and psychological burden road crash bring to families of the victims especially in a country like Nigeria where most travelers are not covered by any appropriate or efficient insurance policy.
Certainly, it is an indisputable fact that many incidents of road crash have been associated with PEACE Mass Transport Company and it is least surprising that many negative views have been expressed against the Management of Peace Mass. Indeed, the situation calls for a thorough investigation in the operations of Peace mass to enable the company improve its accident prevention measures especially on those that relate to human errors.
Whilst acknowledging that no preventable road death should be allowed, it is also important to state that the management of Peace Mass must be highly disturbed about these ugly incidents as they add no credit to its image but only deplete its assets. However, any objective analyst on road safety ought to know that some of these incidents are unpreventable because of the poor conditions of Nigerian roads.
More so, it is a shared blame between drivers and passengers because at times passengers that try to caution a driver to drive with care are even harassed by the majority of passengers that are more interested in getting to their destination early without due consideration to their safety. In Infact, road crashes are not peculiar to Peace mass but for its huge fleet operations which may be about the biggest in Nigeria, so it sure takes its proportionate share of road mishaps.
This really why when a vehicle of Peace Mass gets involved in a road crash; it appears as if all their vehicles are unsafe. In as much as such conclusions on Peace mass are not very correct, there is great need for the company to take apt steps to improve on its safety practices. The recent step of installing speed limiters in over 300 vehicles in its fleet is highly commendable but this is not enough. The Peace Mass drivers need proper monitoring, observance of good rest to avoid fatigue and special driving lessons.
Given the highly beneficial services the Peace Mass renders to millions of road users in Nigeria at relative affordable rates and the dearth of alternative transportation companies that wide reach, it is obvious that Peace mass has become a necessity. Thus, the need to ensure that its management engages in safer road use practices cannot be over emphasised. I suggest the management of Peace mass conducts proper research on road crashes involving its vehicles, seek a special partnership initiative with the management of the FRSC that will assist it in reorienting its drivers and modernize its operations to fit acceptable standard practices of fleet operations.
Again, Peace Mass vehicles are not crash magnets and a ban on its operations is inappropriate as it will not solve the problem but place additional burden on road users that have very limited options for affordable commuting needs. However, PEACE mass transit Management should take immediate steps to give Nigerians REAL peace on the roads by enhancing the safety of its passengers and vehicles whilst offering its passengers a channel to report its defaulting drivers.
*Nwokolo is a member, PATVORA Initiative, Road safety NGO