One of Nigeria’s leading road transportation companies, Peace Mass Transit, has launched a new defensive driving training for its over 3,000 drivers as part of a proactive move to increase safety for its customers and staff.
Chairman and chief executive officer of the company, Sam Onyishi announced this new initiative in a press conference held on Thursday, July 7, 2016 in the company’s headquarters in Enugu, capital of Enugu State. He revealed that the transportation company has suffered backlash in the Nigerian press over fatal accidents involving its buses.
“After the last two fatal accidents that involved our buses along Umuahia Expressway and Bayelsa Road, which claimed the lives of many innocent passengers and drivers, Peace Mass Transit decided to launch a campaign tagged, Defensive Driving for our 3000 drivers,” Dr. Onyishi said, noting the negative press the company had received following the fatal accidents.
“This has become necessary as there is a great outcry and negative press against our company as a result of these accidents that is trying to relegate to the background all safety records and achievements of Peace Mass Transit for over 20 years on Nigerian roads,” he told journalists.
He expressed condolence to the families of those who dies in road accidents involving Peace Mass Transit buses and said that the company makes safety a paramount core value in all its operations. He said that the company would not waste time in sacking any driver who is found to be “driving recklessly or misbehaving on the road”.
The company’s buses were recently involved in two road accidents in Abia and in Bayelsa and some passengers died. Onyisha presented police reports on the accidents to journalists to prove that the unfortunate incidents were not the fault of the company’s drivers.
“The police and eyewitness reports have exonerated our drivers as being the cause of these accidents,” he said. “But as a matter of duty, in other to retain the full confidence of the general public, who patronise our services, we have decided to retrain her drivers on defensive driving in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Corps, and some consultant psychologists.”
He expressed confidence that the elevated safety measures he has taken would help to strengthen the company’s safety record and ensure that avoidable accidents do not occur any more among the company’s fleet.
The new measure is in addition to Peace Mass Transits standard procedure which includes a background check of all drivers for any drug-related activities, a valid driver’s license, eyesight certificate report and professional driving experience of 5 years prior to employment. Dr. Onyisha also disclosed that the company places priority on married men as they tend to exhibit a higher sense of responsibility.
The press briefing was also attended by officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, who confirmed that the corps conducts quarterly training for all Peace Mass Transit drivers to ensure that they schooled on best driving practices.
The chairman disclosed that Peace Mass Transit also had patrol teams that closely monitor their buses along all the routes the company undertakes.
“Peace Mass Transit patrol teams strategically located on all our routes for timely intervention in case of breakdown, accident and other unforeseen situations capable of interrupting the journey,” Dr. Onyisah said.
“They engage on the-spot-assessment of drivers’ performance, get feedback from customers on drivers’ on -road conduct,” he said as he disclosed that Peace Mass Transit was the first Nigerian transportation company to put in place a team of this nature. He said that his patrol team also acted as a rapid response team and are trained in first aid administration.
The transportation company’s chairman concluded the meeting by saying the company was willing to adopt any measure that will ensure the safety of its passengers.