Concerned by the rising cases of road traffic crashes involving petroleum tankers in parts of the country, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi has directed strict enforcement of safety standards on petroleum tankers, while urging the operators to comply with the provisions of Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme (RTSSS).
Reacting to reports of the crashes in Onitsha, Anambra state and Iyana-ipaja in Lagos state, the Corps Marshal stated that while the Onitsha crash which occurred on Sunday, 31st May, 2015, claimed 46 lives with five people sustaining various degrees of injury, that of Iyana-Ipaja caused destruction of several vehicles, even though no life was lost in the incident.
He further pointed out that the two incidents threw the nation into mourning mood with enormous economic loses, adding that with the combined efforts of other stakeholders, the wreckage caused as a result of the crashes have been cleared and normalcy has returned to the areas.
Speaking further, Corps Oyeyemi, pointed out that FRSC in its efforts to avert such fatal crashes involving articulated vehicles proactively launched the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme in 2007, which made adequate provisions for regular training and retraining of the tanker drivers as well as maintenance of vehicles by fleet operators who must have safety managers that are professionals.
Oyeyemi stressed that the scheme provided for regular safety checks by the FRSC and other relevant agencies to ensure that vehicle standards are carefully observed by fleet operators and drivers, expressing concern, however, that despite such measures, some operators fall short of the standards which compromise the safety of other road users.
“This attitude must change henceforth, as we would no longer tolerate disobedience to safety rules and regulations and would promptly punish anyone that commits offences capable of compromising safety of other road users,” he warns.
The Corps Marshal, while commiserating with the families of the bereaved, assured that all necessary measures were being taken to ensure that the nation does not experience a repeat of the calamity, stating that he is in touch with relevant unions like NUPENG and NARTO and other stakeholders on how to avert future reoccurrence.
“FRSC is working in concert with all stakeholders to ensure that our roads are made safer for all travellers. We have directed our commands to strictly enforce vehicle safety standards as provided for in the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme on all vehicles operating on the nation’s highways including the tankers.
“The discussion with the Union leaders is expected to facilitate strict enforcement of the relevant laws on recalcitrant ones among them,” he stated.
Speaking on the imperatives of training of the tanker drivers, the Corps Marshal stressed that under the new licensing scheme, training and retraining of drivers, especially those that fall within the professional classes like articulated vehicles is compulsory.
He added that the initiative led to the introduction of Safe-to Load Project which ensures that only road worthy tankers load petroleum products from any of the depots in the country.
“Across the commands, FRSC has been collaborating with the various transport unions managing the affairs of the tanker drivers. In my first leg of visitations to the union offices early this year, I personally discussed the issues of sustaining the collaboration with the leaders.
“That is why we are currently engaged in road safety rallies with the transport unions across the country. I believe that with the ongoing enlightenment programmes coupled with strict enforcement of the safety standards which would be carried out in concert with the leadership of the unions, the nation would be saved the agony of crashes involving tanker crashes as we have just witnessed,” Oyeyemi further stated.