The Federal Road Safety Corps is the government agency with statutory responsibilities for road safety administration in Nigeria. The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), which was established in 1988, is the top organization in Nigeria for managing and administering road safety. Additionally, it operates in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Making the highways safe for drivers and other users of the road, as well as evaluating the roadworthiness of vehicles, recommending works and infrastructures to prevent or reduce accidents on the highways, and informing drivers and the general public about the significance of maintaining road discipline on the highways are some of the statutory duties of the FRSC.
Furthermore, Dauda Ali Biu is currently in charge of the FRSC. The Corps Marshal has the position of the highest rank, and the officials are saddled with the responsibility of ending traffic accidents and establishing a secure driving environment in Nigeria.
In this piece, Naijabiography narrates the history of the Federal Road Safety Corp, as well as its statutory functions as a federal institution.
The founding of the FRSC in Nigeria dates back to 1988, when General Ibrahim Babangida, the nation’s President, determined it was necessary to take action due to the country’s high rate of traffic accidents. Wole Soyinka, a professor and activist, served as the first commission’s chair.
Meanwhile, before the creation of the FRSC, when the then President, General Ibrahim Babangida determined that it was time to take action due to the country’s high risk of traffic accidents. As a result of this, many organizations in the past, including Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), made notable efforts to establish a strong road safety program between 1960 and 1965.
Early in the 1970s, the Nigerian Army made an effort to train its officers and soldiers on road safety, which also helped to advance ideas and awareness in that country. When it established an annual Road Safety Week in 1972, the Nigerian Army launched the first public road safety campaign.
Furthermore, the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), which was established in 1974 by the military administration in power at the time, was the first intentional policy on road safety. However, the Commission’s influence did not last.
The Oyo State Road Safety Corps was founded by the military administration in Oyo State, Nigeria, in 1977, and it significantly improved local traffic safety and road discipline. That persisted until 1983 when the federal government ordered its dissolution.
The Nigerian government recognized the need to establish the current Federal Road Safety Corps, to address the carnage on the highways due to the country’s continuing dangerous trend of road traffic accidents at the time, which led to it being one of the most RTA-prone countries worldwide (the most in Africa) in 2013.
The FRSC Establishment Act
It was stated in a report published at the creation stage of the FRSC that the federal government began searching for a reliable and practical solution to the problem as a result of the unfavourable trend in the country’s road traffic system that led to an increase in road traffic accidents.
However, the need for an on-road safety policy rose along with the number of automobiles on the roads. The number of traffic accidents increased, so the government had to take action. There was a time when driving in Nigeria was regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous activities. In other words, the agency was created to deal with this issue in particular as well as many other issues.
Through Decree No. 45 of 1988, as amended by Decree 35 of 1992, known in statute as the FRSC Act cap 141 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), and adopted by the National Assembly as the Federal Road Safety Corps (establishment) Act 2007, the Federal Government established the Federal Road Safety Commission in February 1988.
Statutory Functions of the FRSC
The following are the functions of the Federal Road Safety Corp, as stated in the act that established the institution.
- Preventing or minimizing accidents on the highway;
- Clearing obstructions on any part of the highways;
- Educating drivers, motorists and other members of the public generally on the proper use of the highways;
- Designing and producing the driver’s license to be used by various categories of vehicle operators;
- Determining, from time to time, the requirements to be satisfied by an applicant for a driver’s licence;
- Designing and producing vehicle number plates
- The standardization of highway traffic codes;
- Giving prompt attention and care to victims of accidents
- Conducting research into causes of motor accidents and methods of preventing them and putting into use the result of such research;
- Determining and enforcing speed limits for all categories of roads and vehicles and controlling the use of speed limiting devices;
- Cooperating with bodies or agencies or groups in road safety activities or in the prevention of accidents on the highways;
- Making regulations in pursuance of any of the functions assigned to the Corps by or under this Act.
- Regulating the use of sirens, flashers and beacon lights on vehicles other than ambulances and vehicles belonging to the Armed Forces, Nigeria Police, Fire Service and other Para-military agencies;
- Providing roadside and mobile clinics for the treatment of accident victims free of charge;
- Regulating the use of mobile phones by motorists;
- Regulating the use of seat belts and other safety devices;
- Regulating the use of motorcycles on the highway;
- Maintaining the validity period for drivers’ licences which shall be three years subject to renewal at the expiration of the validity period
However, members of the Commission have the authority to detain and prosecute anyone when performing these duties and have a reasonable suspicion that they have committed any traffic infraction.