Eight in ten Nigerian drivers drive under the influence of alcohol, study says

[Photo: sunnewsonline.com]

CLEEN Foundation released the result of the study on Wednesday.

About 79 per cent of motorists say that they “sometimes” or “always” consume alcohol before driving, a 2013 study by CLEEN Foundation has revealed.

The group disclosed this in its National Crime and Safety Survey, an annual perception survey, on Wednesday, in Lagos.

According to the survey, while 74 and 72 per cents of surveyed drivers in urban and rural areas respectively admitted to consuming alcohol “sometimes,” five per cent of drivers at both locations said they drink “always.”

Also, 22 and 21 per cents of respondents in rural and urban areas respectively reported that they “hardly” consume alcohol before driving.

“The abuse of alcohol has been identified as a leading cause of accidents across the globe and has been identified as a leading traffic offence committed by drivers,” said Daniel Nengak, Program Manager, CLEEN Foundation.

“In the absence of a robust system for testing level of alcohol consumption by drivers in Nigeria, we resorted to self reportage to determine the frequency of this practice by asking drivers how often they consume alcoholic beverages before driving,” he added.

Responding, Ibrahim Abdulraheem, Sector Head, Policy, Research, and Statistics, at the Federal Road Safety Commission, said that passengers are also culpable for the high level of drunk driving by commercial drivers.

Mr. Abdulraheem narrated a field experience at an Abuja motor park where officials of the FRSC had gone, with their breathalyser, to check drivers before they pull out of the garage.

“When we got there, the people at the park told us Mr. A was the driver of the bus, whereas it was Mr. B who had been drinking. When we discovered this, we decided to employ another strategy – we would hide and when the bus was about to move, we’d pounce on it and demand that the driver undergo the test.

“But to our surprise, the passengers in the bus began to scream at us, that we were wasting their time. We experience this all the time,” Mr. Abdulraheem added.

The survey also revealed that only one out of ten motorists (13 per cent) in Nigeria had valid driver’s licence in 2013.

Last year, it was 14 per cent.

A further breakdown of the analysis revealed that Zamfara State, at 1 per cent, had the least number of drivers with valid driver’s license, while Anambra State had the highest with 22 per cent, followed by Abia with 19 per cent, and Ekiti with 18 per cent.

Also, seven out of every ten drivers admitted to occasionally engaging in races with other road users, while five per cent of respondents said they did it always.

Other practices include 66 per cent of respondents saying that they occasionally under estimated the speed of oncoming vehicles, while 7 per cent said that they did it always; 77 per cent of surveyed drivers said that they occasionally or always drove on the wrong side of the road (one way or on dedicated bus lanes); while 35 per cent of respondents said that they often or always stop for pedestrians to cross the road.

The study employed survey research methodology, and the population sample consisted of 11,518 Nigerians equally distributed among male and female adults aged 18 and above from all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, according to CLEEN Foundation.

The data collection method employed was the household survey involving face-to-face personal interviews.

The data was collected between August 2012 and June 2013 and had a margin of error of +-2, it added.

Among its recommendations, CLEEN Foundation called for the FRSC and other law enforcement officials on road patrols to be equipped with such devices to check drivers and enforce the laws where deviation is observed.

“All public bus parks should be equipped with breath analysers to check and ensure that only sober drivers are allowed to leave such parks,” it said.

The organisation also called for “a national audit of road availability and quality by state.

“Such an audit will show clearly the types of roads available to commuters and their current state of repairs and thus better informing holistic road repairs and management efforts of all government departments.

“Installation of ICT devises to check speed: There is need to deploy motion detectors, cameras and other modern ICT devices along major highways to alert authorities on drivers’ overspeeding and allow for the erring driver to be apprehended and disciplined.”


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