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Commercial Driver’s Personal Characteristics in Understanding Traffic Sign Symbols

Analyses of Commercial Driver’s Personal Characteristics in Understanding Traffic Sign Symbols -A Case of Nnewi, Nigeria.

 CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.10 BACKGROUND OF STUDY

The number and quantity of vehicles on roads has increased due to technological and economical development in recent years As a result of this increase, traffic has been one of the most important parts of our daily lives as people spend more time in traffic thereby forcing drivers and other road users to face a higher risk of traffic accident. Worldwide more than 1.25 million people lose their lives annually due to traffic crashes. Everyday nearly 1,049 people under the age of 25 lose their lives in traffic accidents World Health Organization (2004) Traffic signs are the oldest and most commonly used traffic control device (TCD). These signs convey messages in words or symbols and erected to regulate, warn, or guide the road users (motorists, and pedestrians etc). Traffic signs are commonly used traffic safety tools developed to provide crucial information in a short time to support safe drive; the success depends on their comprehensibility by the drivers Kirmizioglu, E and Tuydes-Yaman, H (2012).Traffic signs however are most effective when they command attention and convey a clear and simple meaning, have the respect of the road users and give adequate time for proper response, Traffic signs use color, shape, and words to convey information. However, the traffic signs cannot effectively serve their intended purpose if drivers do not understand the information concerning safe driving behavior that is encoded in the sign Stokes, R. W., Rys, M. J., Russell, E. R. and Kerbs, J. (1995) The American National Standard Institute advice that traffic signs should meet 85%, while the Organization of International Standardization pegged its own at 67% with believe that driver should be able to have proper understanding to this posted traffic signs. Traffic control devices such as signs, signals, markings and other devices placed on or adjacent to a street or highway helps to regulate, warn and guide the traffic, is of importance in availability of this posted traffic signs and poor understanding to it  increases the rate of accidents as the days go by. Disobedience of traffic regulations is one of the probable cause for the same. This violation of regulations could be due to ignorance or purposeful negligence on the part of the driver. In any case, an understanding of driver behavior in observing traffic signs is essential for reducing traffic problems and improving the existing infrastructure. Road traffic situation in terms of the rate of indiscipline and accident on Nigerian road before 1988 cannot be overstated. Previous literature revealed that there was absence of good driving culture on most Nigerian roads and Highways (Yakassai, 1998; Maduagwu, 1998; Oyeyemi, 2003; Balogun, 2006; FRSC, 2007). According to Yakassai (1998), Nigerian roads then, were dominated by abundant combination of inexperienced, drunk and overconfident drivers who are unconcerned about the lives of other road users as well as theirs. There were further claimed that many commercial vehicle drivers knew nothing more than the rudiments of moving vehicles and hooting their horns ostensibly to attract the attention of passengers. Maduagwu (1998) corroborated this when he states that most Nigerian drivers have no regard whatsoever to traffic regulations and rules. And they do not keep speed limit or traffic signs on highways, some overtake anywhere and anyhow on roads and highways while some park their vehicles anyhow on the roads with no thought of the other road users. It is also understood that drivers do not have proper understanding of posted signs by the road side . The traffic situation then was described as chaotic and unpredictable. Interest of the public on road safety matters was minimal and there was no concrete and sustained policy action to addressed road safety questions (FRSC, 2007). Hence, there was high rate of road traffic accident and fatalities. Traffic signs in relation with congestion and road accident occurrences have been a topic of considerable interest to researchers in the past few decades. There is a general perception that drivers in Nnewi, Anambra state do not understand posted traffic signs and often this is thought to be a major cause of road accidents. Consequently, this research is to assess the drivers’ comprehension to posted traffic signs in Nnewi, of Anambra  state. The major aim of the project is to analyze drivers understanding to traffic signs symbols to finding out the individual characteristic of drivers in understanding traffic signs. The study is of great importance since the rate of accident occurrences along the expressway is at an alarming rate.

1.2     STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

There have been incidences of road traffic crashes in various cities of Nigeria and these have been attributed to reckless driving, over speeding, dangerous overtaking  drunkenness and ignorance of traffic regulations. Nnewi, the study area, is characterized with drivers with different social and personal characteristics, it could be argued that level of knowledge and understanding of posted traffic signs by these drivers has much influence in the incidents of road traffic accidents in the area. Again, though arguably, it can be noted that there is a relationship between driver personal characteristics and there comprehension of the posted traffic signs, however this has not been empirically proven. In other words, the influence of  these drivers’ personal and social characteristics on understanding  traffic signs symbol is still an issue to be empirically investigated. According to Chukwu (2007) various level of road safety education that had been embarked on by the state and federal road safety corps (FRSC) in Nnewi, the study area,have focused on the maintenance of vehicles, the need to abstain from alcohol and other related issues. The effect of the drivers’ personal and social characteristic on understanding traffic signs symbol has not been considered at any time, hence the problem of this study is therefore to empirically consider the relationship between drivers characteristics and their ability to understand traffic sign symbols in Nnewi, Anambra state.

1.3     GOAL AND OBJECTIVES

1.3.1 Goal of the Study

Investigating the role of Nnewi commercial drivers’ personal characteristics in understanding of traffic sign.

1.3.2 Objectives of the study

  1. To identify the general level of understanding traffic signs among commercial drivers in Nnewi
  2. To determine the percentage of drivers that correctly understood the various traffic signs (Warning & Regulatory – Prohibitory Signs)

3.To determine the extent of influence of personal characteristics of the drivers’ on understanding traffic signs.

  1. To determine the drivers’ personal characteristics that play prominent roles in drivers’ understanding of posted traffic signs.

1.4     RESEARCH QUESTION

  1. What is the general level of understanding traffic signs among commercial drivers to in Nnewi?
  2. What is the percentage of drivers that correctly understood the various traffic signs (Warning & Regulatory – Prohibitory Signs)?
  3. What is the extent of influence of drivers’ personal characteristics on understanding traffic signs?
  4. What are the various drivers’ personal characteristics that play prominent roles in drivers understanding of traffic signs?

1.5     STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS

Ho: The number of posted traffic signs understood by drivers is not significantly related to the personal and social characteristics of drivers. The personal and social characteristics of drivers are measured by age, monthly income, years of education, years of driving experience, accident per experience, marital status, sex and gender – these are the independent variables, while the dependent variable is the number of posted traffic signs understood by drivers.

Ho: No significant difference between the number of posted traffic sign understood by drivers among the various parks.

1.6     SCOPE OF STUDY

This study is concerned with analyzing commercial drivers’ personal characteristics in understanding traffic signs symbols. It is to look at the relationship between drivers’ personal characteristics and their understanding of posted traffic signs. The characteristics considered here include: age, monthly income, years of education, years of driving experience, accident per experience, marital status, sex of driver in the study area Nnewi. questionnaires will be distributed amongst drivers in various inter-city motor parks in Nnewi the study area viz -viz Nnewi-onitcha,Nnewi-Enugu,Nnewi-Awka,Nnewi-Ekwulobia,Nnewi-Lagos,Nnewi-Nsukka,Nnewi-Abakaliki,Nnewi-Okigwe,Nnewi-Aba,Nnewi-Ihiala,This is because it was observed that traffic signs are not readily common and visible within Nnewi city, the drivers used in this study are the commercial drivers’ 1.7     ANTICIPATED LIMITATIONS

The unwillingness of respondents (inter-city drivers) to disclose their socio- economic data especially their monthly incomes.

1.8   SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

This study intends to Investigating the role of Nnewi commercial drivers’ personal characteristics in understanding of traffic sign. Due to The present problems on Traffic in relation with congestion and road accident occurrences in past few decades which has been at an alarming state in the study area. Specifically, the study should then be of great significant to urban planners and to Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in the proper location of posted traffic signs, distance, shapes and size also for proper allocation of  recourses in the field of traffic education and  policy making.

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