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THE ECONOMIC COST AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS IN NIGERIA
Transport is a basic and essential requirement for daily human activities. It is needed for the purpose of achieving the socio-economic and political goals of mankind. As a measure of the interaction between areas, transport enables a division of labour to occur (Hoyle and Knowles, 1992). Furthermore, transport not only facilitates the distribution of goods and services by ensuring that producers are linked with the area of consumption, but it also serves as a catalyst in the process of change and development. Movement is therefore necessary and compulsory for all human activities from womb to tomb (Oyesiku, 2002). In fact, no human activity takes place without one form of transport or the other, and most countries attach a lot of importance to the transportation sector, as transport is synonymous with innovation and technology. Countries now are as developed as their transport system; the country with the best transport system always has an edge over others in the areas of trade, investment, tourism, security, intelligence and war. In fact, any country that does not develop transportation does so at its peril (Oyesiku, 2002).
Despite the undisputed role and importance of transportation on the effective functioning of modern societies, it is beset with myriads of negative externalities which if not well managed could wipe out the benefits associated with it (Ogunsanya,1984).The commonest externalities associated with transportation are noise, environmental degradation, congestion, pollution, accidents and vibration. These externalities vary from mode to mode and from country to country and a lot of research and policy on transportation development are directed towards the mitigation of these externalities.
Since transportation provides the medium within which all sorts of movements take place, human activities require more than one form of transport to be accomplished. Thus, transport is comprised of many modes, namely; road, rail, air, water and pipeline. However, in most countries of the world, road transport is the major mode of
transportation. In Nigeria, it is responsible for about 90% of all transportation services (Akphoghomeh, 2012), indicating a heavy reliance on the road system for the movement and distribution of goods and services in the country.
Nigeria‘s population is over 162 million people in 2011 and 182 million in 2015 evenly distributed across the country. The major population centres are Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Onitsha, Benin and Maiduguri. The country covers a total land area of 923,768sq km, and is classified by the World Bank as a middle income country with an annual per capita income of $2,600 and a GDP of $414 billion per annum in 2011, and a GDP of $481 billion in 2015 with per capita income of 2,655 dollars (World bank 2012, 2016). The country is divided into 6 Geo-Political zones comprising of 36 states and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as shown in Figure 1.1.
Figure 1.1: Map of Nigeria Showing the 36 States and FCT Abuja
Agriculture and primary production is the main stay of the Nigerian economy accounting for over 40 percent of the GDP, but employing about 70% of the population. The country is also a major oil producer and exporter and a member of the oil producing and exporting countries (OPEC) (CIA World Fact Book, 2012).
The structure of the Nigerian economy is largely North-South interdependent. The Northern region produces the greater portion of the agricultural produce, while the south is the industrial base of the country. Major arterial roads in the country run from North to South, reflecting the nature of population distribution and economic activities.
Nigeria as a developing country is seriously concerned about its transportation system. The Nigerian road network system is 193,200 km in length and over 7,600,000 vehicles are registered to use the roads in 2008, 60% of these were motorized 4 wheelers, 30% were motorized 2 wheelers and about 10% were trucks (FRSC, 2010). The road system is supported by 4332 km of rail track; part of a rail network that performs badly and a total of 53 airports covering major cities out of which five located at Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu are International Airports.. The country also has seaports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Warri. The pipeline networks constitute 2,042 km for crude oil, 3,000km for petroleum and 500km for natural gas, even though they do not function for most of the time due to their frequent destruction by criminals (MITI, 2002).
The road transport sub-sector is very important for industrial development and social integration, which Nigeria dearly needs. Road transport in Nigeria is particularly important because of its flexibility and capillary characteristics. It is suitably in line with the geographical realities of the country in terms of space and time and its historical facts. For Nigeria, a safe and reliable road transport system is therefore of major importance for the administration of its diverse communities, and it is at the centre of the county‘s socio-economic and political integration.
Furthermore, the prevalence of the use of road as the primary mode of transport in Nigeria for all purposes of movement has been further necessitated by the near collapse of the railway system. The system was laid mostly during the country‘s colonial period
when there was the need to move large quantities of agricultural produce and minerals from the hinterland to the sea. In the past few decades however, the system has suffered from a long period of neglect, making it moribund.
On the part of air transport, its cost has made it restrictive, leaving it affordable only to a small section of the Nigerian population. The inland waterways system is also by its nature physically restrictive, thus not accessible to the majority of communities in the country. The pipeline network has not been fully put to use due to the activities of criminals who are fun of destroying the pipeline infrastructure. This has forced the country to rely on trucks to transport petroleum products by road, contributing to the deterioration of the road infrastructure and an increased number of road traffic accidents.
Despite its advantages, the nation‘s road transport sector is not living up to expectations; it is beset with serious problems ranging from an inadequate road network, poor maintenance of the infrastructure, un-roadworthy vehicles, high traffic accident rates, delays and congestion, high operational cost and fleet management problems (Olagunju, 2011).
In particular, Road traffic accidents in Nigeria are a serious problem. Between 2002 and 2008, a total 40,007 persons were killed from accidents on the roads, while 136,068 suffered different degrees of injuries (Olagunju, 2010). In 2008 alone, the number of people killed in road traffic accidents totaled 6,661 that is an average of 18 persons daily. During that same year, another 27,980 people sustained injuries of varying degrees in road traffic accidents. When considered against the backdrop of the likely under-reporting of accidents in Nigeria, these statistics become source of great concern to not only the government and road safety agencies, but also to the public.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
According to the World Health Organization ( WHO, 2008), globally more than 1.3 million people are killed every year and 50 million sustain injuries as result of road traffic accidents, 90% of these take place in low income countries (70% in Africa),
even though only about 50% of the world‘s vehicles are actually located in the low income countries. It is further reported by WHO (2008), that the world economy loses the sum of $1.4 billion daily as a result of road traffic accidents and individual national economies lose in average, between 1-3% of their Goss Domestic Products to road traffic accidents every year.
A report by the Road Safety in WHO African region (2013) highlights the magnitude of the road safety problem in the region. The report shows that, the African region has the highest fatalities from road traffic accidents ahead of other regions in the world, despite the fact that the African region is the least motorized of the six world regions. In fact, Africa possesses 2% of world‘s vehicles but contributes 16% of global road traffic deaths. Accident statistics in some African countries have shown that, the road traffic death rate is 100 deaths per 10,000 vehicles (while in Sweden the rate is just 1.3 deaths per 10,000 vehicles). Nigeria and South Africa have the highest fatality rates of 33.7 and 31.9 deaths per 100,000 populations per year respectively. This is not surprising since these two countries have very high population concentration and are the largest economies in Africa. The report therefore highlighted the need for urgent actions, warning that, if no urgent steps are taken, the fatality rate may increase to about 80 percent of this in Africa by 2020.
In Nigeria over 90% of goods are imported by sea and thereafter distributed to their various destinations via road haulage. This includes the distribution of goods to all the commercial centres of the country including Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Enugu, Onitsha, Benin, Yola, Ibadan, Aba and Zaria. In the same way, agricultural and other goods produced at various points‘ hinterland are transported to where they are needed for industrial and consumer usage. In most cases these types of goods are produced in the northern parts of the country and then transported to the south, where they are needed for consumption and Industrial use, and to the ports of Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar for export.
However, the road haulage industry in Nigeria is bedeviled with very serious problems and challenges that are threatening the performance of the industry (Ogunsanya, 2004). These problems include poorly maintained roads, safety and security concerns, high
accident rates and increasing operational cost. The results of these problems are enormous and include; Loss of life and property, increase insurance cost, waste of time and man-hour, colossal loss that can lead to the collapse of the haulage company, increase in freight rates, destruction of the road infrastructure and increase in cost of road and vehicle maintenance. Accidents are particularly of great concern, in this regard, the National Transport Policy Retreat of 1993 expressed concern over the growing trend of accidents involving heavy goods freight vehicles traffic especially on the nation‘s regional roads. The forum observed that, one out of every five accidents along Kaduna-Lagos road involved goods vehicles.
According to the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) report in 2010, the problem of accidents involving road haulage vehicles in Nigeria is costing the nation a lot of resources. Statistics have shown for example that, from January 2007 to June 2010, not less than 4,107 trucks were involved in road traffic accidents in Nigeria causing the death of 4,076 people and 12,994 sustaining injuries of varying degrees, with accompanying loss of property (Olagunju, 2011). For a developing country requiring to utilise its resources effectively, this is an unbearable loss that requires investigation through research and consequent intervention and innovations.
1.3 Aim of the Study
The aim of this study is to estimate the cost of heavy goods road traffic accidents in Nigeria and analyse its implications on road transport policies of the country.
The objectives of the study are as follows;
- § To analyse the Nigerian road transportation system and appraise the level of HGV accidents
- § To review the literature relating to the estimation of the cost of road traffic accidents in both developed and developing countries and to appraise the place of HGV accidents research
- § To evaluate the causes of HGV traffic accidents and their prevention strategies in Nigeria