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Sanitising society through traffic laws

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[FILES] City Photo: PIXABAY

Sir: In Lagos, many road users (private or commercial drivers) are not familiar with the state traffic laws. It is when they are apprehended and made to face the consequences that they claim ignorance of the existing laws. And when caught on the wrong side of the law, ignorance is no excuse.

Commercial bus drivers are generally guilty of lack of orderliness. In an attempt to arrive their destination hurriedly to pick more passengers and make more money, they drive recklessly and impatiently thereby disobeying traffic laws which may lead to avoidable road crashes.

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The severity of punishment or penalty (fine) for various traffic offences ranges from N20,000 to seizure/confiscation of vehicle or imprisonment and compulsory training at the Lagos State Driving Institute as the case may be. Each traffic offence carries its own penalty.

According to the Lagos State Traffic Laws 2018 as amended, some of the traffic offences and penalties among others are: Driving vehicles with doors left open carries N20,000 and N30,000 respectively for committing offence at first and subsequently plus one month community service; illegal U-turn comes with N20,000 fine for first offender and N30,000 subsequently; wrongful overtaking of other vehicles on the road is accompanied by a fine of N50,000 and N100,000 for same offence subsequently; physical assault on traffic officer comes with N100,000 fine or six-month imprisonment with an additional payment of compensation to the assaulted officer; fine for disobeying traffic control personnel is N20,000 and that of traffic light is N10,000.

The other day, on a live Radio programme, a caller phoned in to ask how the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) personnel could tell if a vehicle owner uses it for commercial purpose or not. The General Manager of LASTMA, Jide Oduyoye, an engineer, said one can easily identify a private car owner who uses it for public purpose by simply asking for the name of the driver from any passenger in the bus. If they can’t tell, then it means they do not know themselves anywhere.

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LASTMA G.M. further added that one good way to know if a private vehicle owner uses it for commercial purpose or not is, if a traffic officer apprehends a driver of such vehicle, all the passengers would walk away without  pleading or standing by the erring driver. Those who use private vehicles to convey passengers do so illegally because they are expected to duly register their vehicles for such purpose. These private car owners are ripping off the government purse and shortchanging the revenue expected to be generated by concerned agencies.

Every motorist is duty-bound to get familiar with the Lagos State traffic laws because ignorance would not be entertained as an excuse. 

Kayode Ojewale is of the Public Affairs Unit of LASTMA.

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