The Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC has said that the proposed establishment of Truck Transit Parks TTPs, across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria would bring about saner and safer roads in the country.

Corps Marshal of the agency, Boboye Oyeyemi, who spoke at the just concluded two-day National Summit on the establishment and management of the TTPs, organised by the Federal Ministry of Transport in conjunction with the Nigerian Shippers Council in Abuja, said the establishment of TTPs is in tandem with the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme RTSSS a safety check programme of the Corps.

The scheme stipulates minimum safety requirements for road transport operators, mandates fleet drivers to among other rest for 15 minutes after four hours of consecutive driving, which is a global safety best practice to fight fatigue and reduce road traffic crashes.

“With Truck Transit Parks established along major corridors truck drivers will have befitting rest areas which will help them regain lost energy and proceed to drive better and safely”.

“Presently, truck drivers park their vehicles on the roads particularly at road junctions such as Tafa in Niger/Kaduna, Benin in Edo State, Ibadan, Lokoja, Lagos State and many other locations in the country, causing congestion and traffic jams. The TTPs will provide parking areas thereby making the highway free of obstructions”, he said.

According to him, a TTP is a very important modern road infrastructure and a public rest area located off the roads, designed to provide temporary rest location for drivers.

The facility is primarily intended for short-term safety breaks and also long term services in high-used corridors and the aim is to ensure that truck operators obtain some measure of safety comfort while on transit and also reduce the rate of road traffic crashes RTC among articulated vehicles on the road.

It is also a modern and contemporary world order of road transport system, designed for the safety of cargo and standardisation of truck driving.

Some of the facilities found in a TTP include fuel/gas station mechanic workshops, hotels/motels, shops, recreation centres, banking facilities, training centres, garage/parking slots, security, safety officer and fire fighters, well designed road network within the parks, electricity and portable water supply as well as medical facilities and healthcare services, among others.

The FRSC-boss disclosed that the agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU with the Nigerian Shippers Council in May 2010in line with its commitment towards regulating and standardising truck operation in the country. The MoU covers setting standards for trucks, truck operators and drivers in-line with global best practice, generate database by registering haulage operators and documented their road traffic activities of which were presented to the operators in a national stakeholders’ forum.

Others include public education and enlightenment to continually educate truck operators, assigning of trained transport standardisation officers to visit truck operators to caution them on the need to be safety conscious under which the corps published stakeholders’ approved Safety Guidelines for Articulated Vehicle Operators in Nigeria and translated same into three major Nigerian languages, among other collaborative efforts.

He insisted that these efforts had become necessary of due to the crucial role road transport plays in socio-economic activities, especially in developing economies including Nigeria.

“Transport is a critical determinant in the conduct of domestic and international trade with great impacts on national economic growth and development. The safety, quality, cost and efficiency of transport services influence the trading environment and the competitiveness of export goods on the international market as well as the cost of imported goods.

“In Nigeria today, road transport is the dominant mode of transportation owing to challenging rail system, restricted water way and expensive air travel. Road Transportation accounts for about 90% of freight movement. Therefore, the safety of cargo on the highways must be given a priority”, he said.