Safety of drivers and other road users is one of the major concerns of any country. In Nigeria, there are many situations on the road which constitute major threat to the safety of road users. The loading of vehicles beyond the capacity recommended by the manufacturers and the law is one of such circumstances.

In Nigeria today, in a bid to make extra money, many commercial drivers overload their vehicles with people, animals and goods stuffed inside the car and in the boot. In other extreme cases, trucks and trailers carry as much as three times beyond their capacity and travel long distances across the states of Nigeria. This is done with the hope that a trip that should have been done twice or thrice would be done once.

This may be beneficial to the truck drivers or owners of the goods but is definitely a risk to the lives of other road users, that of their passengers, to the car and the road itself. Sometimes you find heavy loaded trucks and trailers swinging, falling sideways or items such as loaded sacks, empty containers, iron rods, wood planks, pestle, farm produce like yam tubers, basket of tomatoes, sacks of onions, even people falling off such moving vehicles at the slightest bump causing high impact chain reaction and damages to other vehicles.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Nigeria termed overloading as a traffic offence which is committed when a vehicle conveys loads or passengers more than its designed capacity or the legally permitted limit. It is an offence that attracts a fine under the FRSC Act (2007), as overloading has resulted in loss of lives and properties on Nigerian roads.

Story & Pictures: Asmau Sani

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