The Role of FRSC in Nigeria The FRSC stands for the Federal Road Safety Corps. This body was set up in 1988 by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida. The body was established to checkmate the level of recklessness and carnage on Nigerian roads.
Before the FRSC was established in 1988, some states, individuals and private companies made attempts to formulate road safety programs for Nigeria. These attempts were made because there was no official government policies to address the issues of road safety while accidents continued to occur on the roads.
Prominent among these attempts were those made by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) between 1960 and 1965. The company created their own road safety program to create awareness amongst Nigerian drivers. This act of social responsibility by SPDC stands as the first organised effort by any group to fashion or attempt to implement a road safety policy in Nigeria.
After the attempt by SPDC, the Nigerian Army then launched their own road safety policy in the 1970s. This idea further helped to raise the awareness of road safety in Nigeria. The army even went as far as setting aside a week every year to emphasize on the importance of road safety.
The first attempt by the Federal Government to create a road safety policy was in 1974 when the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) was established. Although this move by the government was seen as largely unsuccessful, it remains the pioneer effort by the government to ensure sanity on our roads.
The military administration of Oyo state followed in the steps of the federal government by setting up their own state body to ensure sanity on their roads. This body only lasted till 1983 when it was disbanded by the federal government.
The continuous increase in the rate of road traffic accidents in the country continued to create serious concern for the federal government. This was further aggravated by the statistic that Nigeria was second in the list of road traffic accident prone countries in the world.
This spurred the government to establish the FRSC in February 1988 as a response to the carnage on the roads.
Statutorily, the FRSC was established by Decree 35 of 1988, as amended by Decree 35 of 1992, and passed by the National Assembly as the Federal Road Safety Corps (establishment) Act of 2007.
According to the FRSC, the motivation to operate a body to regulate road use and reduce accidents on our roads is based on the premises that;
- Road crashes kill more than HIV/AIDS and malaria
- You know someone who has been killed or injured in a crash
- Road crashes happen every day and they injure and kill people
- All road crashes can be prevented
- Most road crashes are caused by driver’s behaviour and not necessarily by bad roads
- There is a better chance of achieving safe roads in Nigeria by changing our behaviour than better road infrastructure
- Deaths and injuries due to crashes can be reduced by 50%if we are committed to: not drink and drive, not over speed, wear seat belts and helmets, not use phones or eat while driving and obey traffic rules.
The FRSC currently plans to reduce road crash deaths and injuries by 50% in the year 2020.
The Role of the FRSC in Nigeria
The law establishing the FRSC in 1988, amended in 1992 and as passed by the national assembly in 2007 gives the body the following functionalities as listed by the official FRSC website
- Making the highway safe for motorists and other road users.
- Recommending works and devices designed to eliminate or minimize accidents on the highways and advising the Federal and State Governments including the Federal Capital Territory Administration and relevant governmental agencies on the localities where such works and devices are required, and
- Educating motorists and members of the public on the importance of discipline on the highway.
In particular the Commission is charged with the responsibilities for:
- Preventing or minimizing accidents on the highway;
- Clearing obstructions on any part of the highways;
- Educating drivers, motorists and other members of the public generally on the proper use of the highways;
- Designing and producing the driver’s license to be used by various categories of vehicle operators;
- Determining, from time to time, the requirements to be satisfied by an applicant for a driver’s licence;
- Designing and producing vehicle number plates
- The standardization of highway traffic codes;
- Giving prompt attention and care to victims of accidents
- Conducting researches into causes of motor accidents and methods of preventing them and putting into use the result of such researches;
- Determining and enforcing speed limits for all categories of roads and vehicles and controlling the use of speed limiting devices;
- Cooperating with bodies or agencies or groups in road safety activities or in prevention of accidents on the highways;
- Making regulations in pursuance of any of the functions assigned to the Corps by or under this Act.
- Regulating the use of sirens, flashers and beacon lights on vehicles other than ambulances and vehicles belonging to the Armed Forces, Nigeria Police, Fire Service and other Para-military agencies;
- Providing roadside and mobile clinics for the treatment of accident victims free of charge;
- Regulating the use of mobile phones by motorists;
- Regulating the use of seat belts and other safety devices;
- Regulating the use of motorcycles on the highway;
- Maintaining the validity period for drivers’ licences which shall be three years subject to renewal at the expiration of the validity period; and
In exercise of the functions, members of the Commission shall have power to arrest and prosecute persons reasonably suspected of having committed any traffic offence.
The current head of the FRSC is Boboye .O. Oyeyemi, MFR, mni.
Since the FRSC was established in 1988, quite a lot has been achieved in providing safety on our roads and highways. Although there is still a lot that can be done in the areas of driver enlightenment and prosecution of road traffic law offenders, the FRSC can be commended for bringing a bit of sanity to our roads.
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