Youth As Vanguard Of Road Traffic Safety In Nigeria By Olagbemi Olamide Mobolaji
“A dad was driving his children to school and was stopped by the officers on the road. A question was raised about the age of the child sitting in the passenger’s seat beside the driver and he said he’s age 14 and that’s why he can seat in the front but his younger brother who is 9 is at the back seat with the seat belt”. The answer of the young man portray he has been taught at home or in school and this is where development starts from. It is important that children receive road safety education as part of the school curriculum which will enable even development.
About 1000 youths die daily as a result of road crashes. This is because of their ignorance of various road use rules and regulations and it would have been of great importance if they had known and taken good care of their vehicles.70% of commercial drivers in Nigeria for instance are youths and might be due to the rate of unemployment which has lead them to get involve in different social vices like drinking, drug usage, kidnapping, stealing etc that is not good for the development of the nation as a whole. A Road crash is the highest killer of young people. Youths within age 15-29 die more as a result of road crashes than hiv/aids, malaria, or homicide.
It is an accepted phenomenon that the Youths of today are Nation Builders and tomorrow future leaders. This youth boils out from different ethnic background, languages, colour of skin or cultures and they unite themselves to make the nation a safer place to live.
The Federal Road Safety Commission been established in 1988 by the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida era has created an organs that paved way for the participation of the youths which is actually through the FRSC clubs in schools.
Youths as vanguard of road traffic safety in Nigeria has been a campaign for ages and an adage says “charity begins at home”. Road accidents has affected the lives of many youths and it has left many on the wheel chairs because of their low level of Drive and road safety education.
There have been numerous campaigns on the use of safety seat belts by drivers but many of these drivers always bend the rules and become traffic offenders. With the introduction of FRSC clubs in schools and NYSC/FRSC clubs, it has now brought the people closer to the government. No parent will want to lay a bad example for their wards and when these children give opinions to their parents, both parties are safe on the road and it bring about reduction in crashes in the road.
The youths are the first point of contact by the government to bring about safer environment for living because they are they segment that comprises much in the society and their activities is needed more.They are in prime age and they also youths tends to take advice from each other especially on safety matters. Therefore there is a need for road safety awareness been carried out by themselves which can be assisted by the government. They have the capabilities to assimilate and learn fast and if they are been taught at the tender age, it sticks with them even when they start driving their own vehicles. More so, there are cases of youths who are victims of road accidents due to there carelessness. Instances of prominent individuals like Dagrin, a popular Nigerian musicians, Paul Walker, a prominent American movie actor etc have lost their lives because simple road use negligence.If dagrin has talked about road safety maybe the tanker before him won’t drive roughly or will have a traffication light and there won’t have been a crash or Paul Walker had not over speed. The situation at hand in present world has digressed to the stage that, 15years old child can now drive when the law stipulated that it should be 18years and above. This is causes difficulties in creating a safer road. the law enforcers need to curtail these activities to prevent further road crashes.
Another cause for road crashes among the youth is due to inexperience. Most of the young drivers don’t really have knowledge about the various driving techniques and this tends to cause difficulties for other road users. Parents should not just get there wards vehicles because they think they are tall or influential in the society because it will definitely tell on the child in the nearest future. Through this medium, the various sign rules, traffic regulations etc will be passed down to the ward and later shared among friends and their parents. Furthermore, it will bring about behavioral changes among their peers and their parents.
Young children are not yet aware of the concept of dangers and must learn to realize the danger in heart in the road environment. A clear improvement in the recognition of how to cope with the danger of crossing the road occurs around age 7and 8 and this is a good development.
As said earlier, majority of commercial drivers are youths are they are the other focal point for championing a safer road for fuller lives. They tend to behave on the laid down principles of their associations and even what other people are doing. They can obey all the safety precautions but a lot still need to be put in place.
firstly, sensitization exercise needs to be conducted regularly in-order to educate the drivers. Through this exercise, they can check there vehicles regularly and obey all road use signs and regulations. Public enlightenments should cut across all the various areas ranging from the schools, churches, mosques, companies etc so that everyone will be aware of the consequences backing up the breaking of road rules and regulations.
The second medium needed to be used to achieve this objective is that, the curriculum should also be encouraged in the tertiary institutions. As the case maybe in order to prevent another issue rising up, it should be developed more in National Youth Corp members who serve their fatherland for a year. These set of people can help preach the gospel according of safer road, fuller lives and it will greatly reduce road crashes. They will be in good positions to tutor the young ones well and build up a great nation with less road crashes.
in the light of the above, it will be established that, information is easily spread among youths through the social medias, internets etc and gradually, the objectives of the Federal Road Safety Commission will be achieved and there will be reduction in road crashes.
Olagbemi Olamide Mobolaji