There is a fierce monster rapidly causing accidents, injuries and deaths on Nigeria roads on daily basis. The monster is in virtually every vehicle plying the roads. The monsters were imported from the developed countries but now destroying lives in Nigeria much more than in those countries.
The monster I am referring to in this article is mobile phone. Yes I mean MOBILE PHONES! It is very small in size but can wipe off human lives in hundreds within the twinkling of an eye.
In the past few months, I have personally embarked on a survey of 10 states in Nigeria with a focus on the use of mobile phones by men and women while driving on the major and minor roads, both in the cities and rural communities. The findings revealed a very terrifying trend. Hence my reference to mobile phone as a growing monster in this article.
Driving is the most complex and the most demanding task. It is the task that requires the highest level of concentration because an error on the part of the driver could result to loss of many lives, creating widows, orphans and many other devastating consequences on families, businesses, communities and the nation as a whole.
Distraction is any act that takes the attention of a driver away from the path of travel (the direction you are facing) for more than one second. The use of mobile phone for making or receiving calls, reading or sending messages, chatting or searching surely takes the attention of drivers away from the path of travel for more than one second. The use of mobile phone while driving, negatively affect the coordination of your visual, cognitive and physical organs needed for effective and safe vehicle control. The devastating effects of the use of mobile phones while driving has been likened to the effects of alcohol and other psychoactive drugs on driving. It hinders concentration and coordination. If you must use the mobile phone, safely park off the road to use your phone and return safely to the road to continue your driving without causing problem to yourself and other road users.
So many avoidable accidents were attributed to the use of mobile phones. Some drivers have resulted to the use of earpiece or hands -free devices. I make bold to say here that “a decorated monkey is a monkey”. The use of hands-free will still infringe with the brain of the driver. The brain is the organ of the body responsible for interpreting the information gathered with the eyes, ears and nose while driving, for the safe actions to be taken by the hands and legs. The nature of the message you receive with the hands – free can also affect your driving or safety. For example, if you receive an emergency call that you are one of the people just retrenched from your high – paid job while cruising on 100km per hour, it is only the miracle of God that help you handle the vehicle safely at that moment. The youth corper using an ear piece crushed by a train while crossing a rail line is still fresh in our memory.
The use of mobile phone can cause accidents, injuries, and deaths to the driver, passengers and other road users. It can also cause the driver to suffer litigation ( manslaughter or murder), fines and or imprisonment. A terrible monster indeed!
Consequent upon the high rate of accidents being caused by the use of mobile phone while driving, I hereby implore the officers of Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Police, State Traffic Agencies and other well – Nigerians to rise up and wage a relentless war against the use of mobile phone in any form while driving. The law against the use of mobile phone while driving is in place but the enforcement has to be more thorough without fear or favour. Walking – talking, particularly when crossing the road must be avoided by all pedestrians. Never pick or look at your mobile phone while you are already crossing the road. Cultivate the habit of stopping at safe locations to use your mobile phone. As it is a dangerous monster to driving, it is also same to walking on the road as well as working in the kitchen at home. There is no call that is too important or urgent to kill or die for. Use your mobile phone wisely and safely so that it will not turn to a destructive monster in your hands.