Speed-limiter: One week after…compliance still low
• Full Enforcement Commences January 2017
One week after the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), commenced the enforcement of the speed-limiting device for commercial vehicles, a total of 2, 800 vehicles have so far been sanctioned by the commission nationwide.
The first three days witnessed 5.2 per cent compliance, as of the 11, 841 vehicles flagged down, 620 had the devices installed. However, the Lagos State Command of the commission says it is yet to penalise any motorist for non-installation, but has engaged in what it calls advisory enforcement, due to what it termed unfavourable response from motorists.
Head, Media Relations and Strategy, FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, told The Guardian in Abuja that the policy witnessed a seamless take-off, as erring motorists were only issued tickets the first day.
This step, he said was also a form of advisory enforcement, during which vehicle owners pass through routine electronic verifications, conducted by their operatives, who issue tickets to erring driver after taking their vehicle details, while citations are given to offenders for corrective purposes.
Said he; “There are no impoundment or seizure of vehicles. The vehicles are stopped for electronic verification to ascertain installation of the speed limit device, after which free safety check tickets are issued to offenders. This strategy will continue till January 2017, when full enforcement/prosecution will commence nationwide. The enforcement is not to inflict pains on motorists and road users, rather, it is a subtle approach for commercial vehicle owners to voluntarily imbibe the culture of its usage and key into it.
“The exercise is also known as free safety checks. In the coming days, the leadership of the organised transport unions such as the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), the National Union of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), and others, shall be involved in the advisory enforcement by joining FRSC top officers to conduct the verification,” he stated.
Kazeem disclosed that the essence of vehicles routine verification/checks without penalties is meant to appeal to the psyche of vehicle owners on the issue of collective responsibility, and the need to install the device, which will regulate and ensure the vehicles do not exceed prescribed speed limits.
This exercise remains our major concern for now. It is continuous through various forms of advocacy, media talk shows and motorised campaigns among others. The thrust of these strategies is to sustain and possibly, raise the momentum of compliance as we move towards January 2017, when the prosecution of erring drivers will commence.
“We wish to use this platform to solicit the support of the Nigerian media to further sensitise Nigerians on the need to install the device in their vehicles. If we consider the fact that speed limit violation accounts for about 56 per cent of road traffic crashes in the country in the last four years, you can imagine the situation when every vehicle, which plies our highway, is fitted with the device.”
Lagos State Sector Commander of the commission, Mr. Hyginus Omeje, who regretted the low compliance level, noted that motorists need to step up. He added that the command has been able to flag down 1, 270 vehicles, out of which 74 complied and 1,196 did not comply. So, for now the percentage of compliance is still low.
He added that: “Advisory enforcement means that from October 1, our men have been flagging down motorists, to know if they have installed the device and if they have not, we advise them to do so. We have not started prosecuting people immediately, which is why we say all commands of FRSC in Lagos would be carrying out enforcement. We are not going to arrest or persecute anybody in mobile court for now, until after December 31.
“My advise to the motoring public, especially commercial vehicle operators is to use this advisory enforcement to install their speed limiter because after sometimes, we are going to progress to the next stage, which is full clampdown on erring motorists, and their eventual persecution. So, I want to advise motorists that they should go and install speed limit devices because there is no more going back on it. Consequently, the best thing is to comply because the enforcement has different stages. After advisory enforcement, we will proceed to next stage, which will see us prosecute offenders.”