This article sheds more light on the implications of the new Lagos traffic law. What are the gains and the pains of the new Lagos traffic law to Lagosians and Lagos at large. Find out in this article.
It seems the end of the road has come for lawless motorists especially drivers of commercial buses popularly called danfo, with the recent introduction of the new traffic law by the Lagos State Government. The new traffic law will be mostly enforced by the newly inaugurated mobile courts which will try offenders and mete out relevant punishments in relation to the new law.
The new laws which took effect from Saturday, 7th February, 2016 will see offenders being fined as much as 50,000, their vehicles impounded or wind up in jail immediately if found guilty for acting contrary to the law.
Of a truth, lives have been lost and people have been cut short in their prime due to the sheer recklessness on the path of drivers who have no regard for traffic laws, that’s if they are even aware such laws exist in the first place. Though the incessant traffic congestion on Lagos roads do also encourage reckless driving and disregard for traffic.
That notwithstanding, we just hope that with the new Lagos traffic law we don’t get to see a situation where those that are saddled with the responsibility of maintaining law and order become lawless themselves. I am talking about motorists been caught for traffic offences without a proper understanding of their crime. The propagators of the law should not see it as another money-spinning venture where every motorist becomes a likely target. The money to be made from offenders should not be a driving force for the persecution of the unfortunate ones.
I will also add here that it will be expedient if the Lagos state government installs Close Circuit Television(CCTV) cameras on major roads to forestall any wrong accusation and abuse on the path of the traffic officers who have been emboldened with the responsibility of enforcing the punishments to the would be culprits. Let every action be caught on camera like its done in Nollywood.
It is no longer news that security personels and traffic officers flagrantly abuse power at the slightest opportunity. Therefore checks should be placed so that the government won’t end up biting more than they can chew.
Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade had on Friday inaugurated mobile courts in the state to end an era of impunity and recklessness on Lagos roads. It is believed in many quarters that the activities of these traffic violators has been responsible for the incessant traffic gridlock experienced on Lagos roads on a daily basis. Hence, the new Lagos traffic law is expected to bring some sanity to road users.
Below are the 11 new Lagos traffic laws that road users must know by heart and their attendant punishments.
- Driving in a direction prohibited by the Road Traffic Law; (that is driving against traffic, popularly known as “One Way” driving) now attracts a 3-year jail term, while a first offender gets one year term and the vehicle forfeited to the state government.
- Bullion vans are not exempted from the law as any bullion van driven in a direction prohibited by the Road Traffic Law will be forfeited, while abandoned vehicle on Highway will be fined N50,000.00 or three years imprisonment, or both fine and imprisonment.
- Riding a motor-cycle against traffic and riding on the kerb, median or road setbacks will attract N20,000.00 for 1st time offenders, while subsequent offenders will get N30,000.00 (thirty-thousand Naira) fine or the riders’ motor-cycle will be impounded.
- Smoking while driving will attract N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira).
- Failure to give way to traffic on the left at a roundabout attracts N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira).
- Disobeying traffic control is N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira)
- Motorcycles and Tricycles are prohibited from riding on major Highways in the state. The Highways are Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Oworonshoki – Ikorodu, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and Babangida Boulevard Way. Others are Lekki-Epe Expressway, Funsho Williams Avenue, Agege Motor Road and Eti-Osa-Lekki coastal road.
- Violation of route by commercial vehicles will attract N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira)
- Riding motor-cycle without Crash Helmet for rider and passenger will attract N20, 000.00 (twenty thousand Naira) or 3 years imprisonment or both.
- Prohibits under-aged person, under 18 years old from riding a motorcycle and the fine for this is N20,000.00 (twenty thousand Naira).
- Operating a motor-cycle in a restricted area on or prohibited route will attract a fine of N20,000.
These are the 11 commandments for motorists plying Lagos roads which as being termed the new Lagos traffic law
Albeit, is the new Lagos traffic law really going to be justice served? Are these not harsh penalties? Will it be fair to lock up traffic offenders for years with hardened criminals knowing fully well that for some it could be just be a case of ignorance?
With the mobile courts that will be available to persecute the offenders and send them to jail in the fastest possible time, I have come to the realization that sending the average Nigerian to jail is a process that occurs in the speed of light, alas! we can’t say the same about our politicians and big shots who steal billions. Their trials can continue while they continue to live their life in bliss and in other cases the trials don’t even get to the court rooms except on the pages of the newspapers till they are long dead and gone. If lady luck smiles on us, the next generation continues the trial after death.
Okay, I guess I’m beginning to veer off the main topic of discourse; back to the issue at hand.
Here is a note of warning; while driving on a major or minor road for the first time, be cautious, be sure to drive slow enough to observe the movement of other motorists on that road and the happenings in the environment with eagle eyes, because that road you are traveling on may just be against traffic- otherwise known as one-way, and trust me you may never get to see warning signs anywhere. What will besiege your eyes will be LASTMA officials swooping in on you in their numbers like you are some endangered specie. Recently, I was at the receiving end of the excesses of some of these LASTMA officials at Akoka, Yaba. They acted like pack of wolves prowling in no man’s land in search of a prey. In fact, if I didn’t know any better I would have thought they were a group of zoologist who had just returned from their escapades into the wilds of East Africa.
It would have been easy for me to just say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed as a final word. Albeit, in this instance you may not only want to be forearmed, you will need to be proactive lest you fall a victim of the new laws.
Some roads in Lagos don’t have clear cut signs of prohibitions or signs that will guide you on what you shouldn’t do on such roads. It is therefore advised that you do your due diligence before heading on what could be a road of no return.
At the end of every road in Lagos now, lies a potential prison cell. Beware! You could just be driving yourself into a jail term. If you put this last piece of information into cognizance, you will never fall prey to the mobile courts.