The Abia Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Commander Meshach Jatau, said on Friday that the state recorded 33 accidents between January and November 14, this year.
Jatau made the disclosure at the Aba Park, while speaking to drivers at a sensitization programme organized by the State Ministry of Transport, in conjunction with the FRSC, to mark its Safety Week.
He said out of the 33 accidents, 26 persons died while 257 were injured, hence the need to re-emphasise the importance of road safety.
“Accidents destroy lives and render families economically impotent, with some of their bread winners dead,’’ he said.
Jatau said that the number of road accidents in the state was high, stressing that there was the need to reduce it.
He said that deaths from accidents increased the number of out-of- school children, which also increased social vices, and charged the drivers to drive with their loved ones always in their minds.
READ ALSO Obong Victor Attah At 80: AKHA Wants Two Projects Named After Him
In his remarks, the Abia Commissioner for Transport, Chief Kingsley Imaga, said that the state was working to ensure a zero accident record during the yuletide.
He charged drivers in Abia to be law-abiding, keep to their lanes and drive safely during the Christmas season, for the safety of all road users.
“The state is working to ensure it has a zero accident record by January 2019.
“Our appeal is to all drivers in the state to change their tyres, service their vehicles and avoid drinking before driving during this period,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that the sensitization programme was designed to enlighten new drivers and remind old ones of what they needed to know, to work and live beyond the Christmas season, without accidents.
He charged the drivers to imbibe the culture of discipline and driving with caution to be alive for their families, who would need them after the season.
“You cannot get all the money you need in your lifetime within this one month period. So avoid reckless driving and speeding to cover many trips if you must be alive to see the New Year,’’ he said.
The Director, Vehicle Inspection Office, Abia, Chief Okey Ekwonye, said drivers should ensure proper maintenance of their vehicles, for them to remain safe.
He urged them to consider their lives to be more important than the money they may save from “managing” bad vehicles, as the effect would be more damaging on them and their families.
The Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Aba, Okezie Uche, said that out of 105 fire incidents recorded so far in Abia in 2018, vehicles were involved in 20 of the cases.
He urged drivers to get at least a 6kg fire extinguisher, especially during this dry season, to be safe from sudden fire outbreaks from moving vehicles.
The Leader Joint Motor Unions in Aba, Chief Azubuike Asuzu, thanked them for the programme and urged the government to ensure drivers’ safety through doing what only governments can do.
He asked that they should be assisted to get and use new tyres, access genuine motor parts and lubricants, as well as fuels, as these help to keep the roads safe.
Asuzu pledged that all drivers who were not at the gathering would get the message.