Bauchi — No fewer than 275 people have died and 1,561 people sustained varying degrees of injuries in various road crashes that occurred in the three states of the North-east zone from April to September 2019.
The Zonal Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Assistant Corps Marshall Imoh Etuk, who disclosed this at the Zonal Mega Rally/Medical Outreach in preparation for the 2019 Operation Zero at the Yankari Motor Park in Bauchi, said the three states are Borno, Yobe and Bauchi.
He said the theme for the rally is 'Road Safety is a state of the mind, road traffic crash is absence of the mind: Stay alert and stay alive', adding that 2,495 were involved in the 320 road crashes that occurred within the same period in the zone representing a 42.4 percent increase in road traffic crashes and a 6.77 percent increase in fatality.
According to him, April and June 2019, there were 132 road traffic crashes which killed 133 people and injured 726 people.
He explained that from July to September, no fewer than 142 people were killed while 836 sustained varying degrees of injuries in the 188 accidents that occurred in the zone.
Etuk said: "The Commission's mandate for 2018 is to reduce Road Traffic Crashes (RTC) by 20 percent and fatality by 25 percent, therefore, all hands must be on deck, since safety is everybody's business."
However, he added "that the Ember months are associated with a beehive of festivities such as Christmas and New Year celebrations, and also a period of harvest for farmers, who bring their farm produce home which result in high vehicular movement on the highways.
"This is why we are here today to sensitise you on the proper use of the highways to make it safe by observing all traffic rules and regulations. I am calling on all drivers to stay off drugs or any stimulants, and avoid over speeding and overloading. Speed thrills, but remember it is only the living that celebrates."
The FRSC boss said in the rally that there would be free testing of drivers' blood pressure and eyesight.
He therefore appealed to drivers to regularly maintain their vehicles before embarking on any journey, warning them to avoid dangerous driving.