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Austrian firm partners drivers to tackle road crashes

Austrian firm partners drivers to tackle road crashes

[FILE] Commercial Counsellor, Austrian Embassy, Guido Stock(left); Chief Executive Officer, Austrian Technologies Nigeria Limited, Johann Rieger; Team leader, Test and Training International (TTI), Franz Wurz; Lagos State Sector Commander, FRSC, Hyginus Omeje and General Manager, Powergas, Sumeet Singh duringa business networking conference on two new investment and technology transfer opportunities hosted by the Austrian Embassy in partnership of Powergas and ETEFA in Lagos Photo: Ayodele Adeniran

Austrian Technologies Nigeria Limited (ATN), is set to partner commercial and professional drivers in the country, as part of efforts to curb one-too-many road crashes.The initiative, according to the outfit, will set-up world-class Drivers’ Safety Training and Certification (DSTC) centres, in collaboration with Test & Training International (TTI) – the world leading drivers’ safety training company.

Chief Executive Officer of ATN, Johann Rieger, said the programme is knowledge-based solution to the endemic problem of road accidents and attendant fatalities amid the growing need for transportation.

Specifically, road transportation accounts for over 90 per cent of human mobility and haulage needs in Nigeria. About 53.8 per cent or 6.7 million out of a total of 12.5 million vehicles in operation in Nigeria are commercial vehicles.

The number of commercial vehicle drivers, emergency vehicle (police, ambulance, fire fighters), governmental, army, and diplomatic drivers in Nigeria is estimated to be around 20 million. Rieger said: “Besides hundreds of new high skill and attractive working places and extensive know-how transfer, society will benefit in general by the reduction of the number of accidents – fatalities and injuries. Transport corporations will benefit, as a result of the decrease in loss of man power, damaged vehicles and lost goods and reduction of insurance premiums.

“Additionally, they will be able to employ drivers that are certified based on international standards. Insurance companies will benefit from huge savings in accident related compensations.”It will be recalled that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the country’s statutory agency, responsible for safety on the road, has been taking counts of late and says over N1billion worth of goods were spilled and damaged in the course of 2018 due to truck accidents.

At a meeting in Lagos recently, Corps Sector Commander of FRSC Lagos State, Hyginus Omeje, said the human factor in road accidents is fundamental. “Lack of traffic education and basic understanding of the consequences of careless driving, improper driving training and training in road and safety procedures, are the most significant factors contributing to traffic accidents. Hence, driver education and training programmes are highest priority in Nigeria.”

Omeje’s comment, the firm reckons, admitted gaps in training, and demands on professionalism from truck drivers, as one of the key strategies to reduce accidents. Globally, one of the countries that have championed truck incidences is Austria and the FRSC is seeking how it can leverage on the expertise to cut down the many side effects of fatalities.

Omeje said: “The root of this may be traceable to the fact that there is no proper assessment process to truck driver’s expertise before they are issued driving license.“Most Nigerian truck drivers are schooled by experienced colleagues with inadequate training, after years of serving as ‘Motor Boys’, we are working at stopping that and helping build a standard that can cut the accidents considerably.”The first of the DSTC centres is proposed to be built in Lagos, followed by Kaduna, Abuja, and Port Harcourt. Long-term goal is to cover the entire country.

Writer: Wole Oyebade
Published: 01 February 2019
Source: TheGuardian

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