Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The new Lagos traffic law

ON Thursday, August 2,
2012, the Governor of Lagos
State, Babatunde Raji
Fashola, SAN, signed the
Lagos Road Traffic Bill into
law. He said it was in a bid to
ensure safety and orderly
flow of traffic in the state.
He reeled out statistics to
illustrate the alarming rise in
accident rates resulting in
injuries and death.
The new law spells out the
offences and punishments
attached. For instance,
trailers (apart from fuel
tankers and long buses) are
now prohibited from plying
the roads between 6.00 a.m.
and 9.00 p.m. Commercial
motorcycle operators are not
to ply major trunks, such as
Ikorodu Road, Funsho
Williams Avenue, Apapa-
Oshodi Express, Lagos-
Badagry and Lekki-Epe
Motorists are also forbidden
to make phone calls, eat,
count money or engage in
“other dangerous activities,”
while on the wheel.
Pedestrians are forbidden to
cross the expressways. They
are now to compulsorily use
the pedestrian bridges.
Violation of these laws
attracts between N30,000
and N50,000 fines or
imprisonment up to three
Predictably, many
commentators have criticised
the law as being
“draconian.” We share the
reservations of those, who
feel that sending a traffic
offender to three years in
prison is way over the roof.
But at the same time, we
believe any citizen, who is
willing to obey the laws of
the land will have nothing to
fear. Only those bent on
maintaining the “jungle city”
reputation of Lagos have
cause to worry.
But those who, like the state
government, believe that the
rise of Lagos to a mega city
status calls for more
discipline and adherence to
safety standards will
welcome the measures as
we do.
The real problem, however, is
whether the state
government has the capacity
to implement this law. Does it
have the disciplined
personnel to instil discipline
on erring members of the
public? Fears are being
expressed that the track
record of law enforcement
agencies like the Kick Against
Indiscipline (KAI) and Lagos
State Traffic Management
Authority (LASTMA) have not
been enviable. Laws like the
ban on commercial
motorcycles use of the
highways and the wearing
of crash helmet failed due to
poor implementation.
Secondly, rotten eggs in
LASTMA capitalise on these
laws to victimise citizens
through corrupt entrapment
tactics for selfish profit.
LASTMA officials permit
drivers of their own vehicles
to violate the law, and
military and police officers
harass officials bent on
implementing the law. What
new safeguards has the
state government come up
with to ensure that this new
law works?
Massive public enlightenment
must be mounted on all
media, and government
alone should not be left to do
it. The law is in our collective
interest. Let us give it a

No comments:

Post a Comment