General Issues

Save Us From Crashing Containers

It is no news that trailer accidents are fast becoming a norm in Lagos. The last one which happened at Ojuelegba made my heart bleed. Here is an article I wrote about it, which got published in The Punch Newspaper.

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January 23, 2015 – She had set out with her son that morning in search of her family’s daily bread. Headed towards her stall at the Mile 12 market, she waited to board a bus at Ketu, and that was her only crime. An articulated vehicle carrying two fully loaded containers lost control and mother, son and several others around them were crushed by one of the containers.

September 2, 2015 – Late afternoon, a container, fully loaded with cement, on a 40-feet trailer fell off the Ojuelegba Bridge landing on a black jeep and a white Toyota. The three occupants of the black jeep died instantly while the occupant of the white Toyota was lucky to have survived.

These are just a few among the container crash incidences that have occurred in Lagos State since the beginning of the year. The victims of these accidents die in the most gruesome way one can imagine. But how long do we have to wait before the government or agencies concerned take steps in preventing future occurrences of this kind? How long do we have to wait before the 2012 Lagos State Traffic Law which concerns articulated vehicles is implemented? The 2012 Lagos State Traffic Law states that “no articulated vehicle other than petrol tankers and long vehicles used in conveying passengers are allowed to enter or travel within the metropolis of Lagos between 6am and 9pm”. It also stipulates a fine for driving a truck or other vehicles carrying containers that are not properly secured and allows the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority to impound the vehicle as additional penalty.

Once, I was in a bus at the Abule-Egba traffic light and the bus I was in was surrounded by trucks. Out of curiosity, I decided to count how many had latched containers. To my dismay, no single truck had a latched container. The traffic light suddenly turned green and we were all involved in a mad hustle to pass before it turned red again. With the way these trucks competed with the small buses, and the way the containers at their backs (unlatched of course) danced about their flat belts, to say I had my heart in my mouth is an understatement.

Measures should be put in place to prevent this kind of occurrences from happening in the future, for example what the FRSC has just suggested the creation of separate routes for trailers. By the way, what is stopping the traffic law from being implemented? Also why are truck drivers still allowed to use these bridges? If the truck that fell from the Ojuelegba Bridge had taken another route and not the bridge, those three lives would have been saved. Are investigations conducted to ascertain the cause of these crashes? A newspaper quoted an eye witness who said that the truck had developed a fault right from Barrack bus stop. Sometimes, the drivers of these trucks are just reckless in the way they drive and also do not mind the state of the trucks they drive. Some of these trucks are just a disaster waiting to happen. The container at the Ojuelegba accident was latched, as we could see from pictures of the accident, that it fell alongside the flat belt on which it was hooked, so what exactly caused the container and the flat belt to fall off together?

These people that die from accidents like these leave behind families. The woman who was killed by the container crash in Ketu in January, was the bread-winner of her family as her husband is bed-ridden. The three men who died in the Ojuelegba incident had families too. One can only imagine what happens to the children of these men who would now have to grow up without a father figure. How does the government plan to compensate these families?

We, the masses need not just answers, but also action. Something has to be done and fast. A stitch in time saves nine but this time, it could be saving the person next to you.

Source: The Punch Newspaper

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