In climes where law reigns supreme and lives treasured, effective traffic regulation and passengers’ right to comfort is the order of the day. All road users if not all citizens are at home with the traffic laws. These laws are clearly spelt out and a dividing line drawn between the functions of various kinds of vehicles plying their roads. Before one acquires a drivers’ license and qualifies to sit behind the wheels, such individual must have passed through rigorous tutorials, driving tests and exams expected to be passed with good grades. Citizens dread breaking traffic laws more than anything else for fear of the attendant dire consequences.
Offenders are booked and charged to court immediately, vehicles impounded or statutory fines imposed accordingly and licences seized for a certain stipulated time. Heavy duty vehicles are strictly designated for haulage of goods and services while other smaller vehicles like cars and buses strictly convey human beings contrary to which full weight of the law will be visited upon defaulters.
It is a different kettle of fish here in Nigeria. Land transportation system has witnessed and accommodated terrible practices. The ugly consequences and the resultant carnages of these actions are common on our roads. Road users can willingly break traffic laws and get away with it. As evident on our roads, vehicles are all utilized interchangeably depending on the situation, the seeming accruable gain to the driver, the vehicle owner or even the passengers themselves. It has become a common pathetic, astonishing, worrisome and unbecoming sight on our highways to behold people especially the young ones regularly hanging on trucks from Kano to Lagos or Port Harcourt to Damaturu without a whimper.
Passengers are also seen cramped inside trunks of vehicles reminiscence of animals or mere commodities as they journey to their various destinations. This unwholesome common practice take place under the nose of several mounted Security and Road Safety Check Points. Still the law turns blind eye and look on mindlessly.
Are there extant laws for passengers’ comfort as they journey around Nigeria? How active and protective are conveyance laws in the nation? Are the road users and transport operators aware of the laws?
Of course, there are lots of laws with institutions driving them but something urgent needs to be done to make them adequately functional. If the awareness for the protection of the rights of even lower and less important animals is on the increase the world over; every Homo sapiens deserve the right to live a decent and dignified life in addition to comfort and convenience while travelling. This law of nature guiding our existence has no meaning to some passengers themselves and transport operators in Nigeria who were both ignorant and indifferent to this grave danger lurking around.
Vehicular mode of transportation is the fastest, reliable, comfortable and most convenient among various kinds of road transport systems all over the world. Peoples’ lives, movement of goods and services from one place to another have been improved and enhanced by this common but unique type of transport system. Therefore, for continued preservation of lives of citizens, growth and improvement in the vehicular transport system; we must not underestimate the right to passengers’ comfort and convenience to vehicular usages in Nigeria.
The Federal, States and Local governments, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and even passengers and community leaders should understand the enormity of this transportation challenge and disaster. These groups and institutions should individually or jointly engage in aggressive and robust public enlightenment of the operators and stakeholders in the transport sector to learn, recognise and understand the essence of safety of their lives, choice of vehicles and the right to comfort when travelling. By so doing, the consciousness of the road users will be awakened to the realities and the consequences of this unwarranted trend.