Incessant road accidents involving petroleum products tanker drivers which occasionally result into explosions and consequent loss of lives and destruction of properties have been one major problem in the downstream sub sector of the Nigerian oil and industry that requires urgent federal government and stakeholders’ attention.
This was the view of all the stakeholders at a one day workshop with the theme, “Safety in Road Transportation of Petroleum Products in Nigeria: Short and Long Term Imperatives”, called at the behest of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, and the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC in Lagos, South-West of Nigeria.
While maintaining that there has been some decrease in the percentage number of accidents in the recent time however said a lot was still needed to fully address the situation. They also called on the federal government to make funds available to assist tanker owners purchase brand new tankers whose longevity and stability would not be in doubt.
While commending Total Energies for maintaining the best safety road measures in the transportation and distribution of petroleum products in Nigeria for four consecutive years said the company also kept a zero accident level within this last four years, that which they had attributed to the quality of its drivers and vehicles. Disclosing that more than 1000 petroleum products distribution tankers in the company’s fleet were all brown new trucks.
They have also enumerated other factors that could help reduce or completely eliminate road accidents involving tanker drivers to include, collective and sustained engagement of all operators, as well as need to ascertain vehicles’ road worthiness. For each stakeholder believed that every truck that has been used for more than ten years was no longer worthy for this crucial engagement and must be pulled out of the roads, this was besides ensuring that tankers do not carry more than 40, 000 litres of petrol tanks, the length or size of the truck notwithstanding. Compliance with FRSC rules, public enlightenment at the loading points, proper examination of the psychological and mental state of a driver periodically, proper orientation, or regular training of the “motor boys”, mandatory installation of speed limits system on trucks, as well as safety valves, were all highlighted as critical to achieving zero accident level among petroleum products tanker driver thereby reducing the volume of carnage associated with this incessant, and of course avoidable problem.