Lagos Traffic Law: Curbing Insanity On Lagos Roads
By Tunde Abatan
As the fourth largest economy in Africa and home to virtually all the diverse ethnic groups in the country, Lagos is a mini country on its own.
With a population of over twenty million and a growth rate of three percent annually,Lagos has grown from an urban centre when it was created in 1967 to a mega city competing for radical and comprehensive infrastructural attention as other cities of its status worldwide.
In spite of it’s population which is increasing more than it’s five thousand one hundred and eighty (5,180) kilometres of federal and state roads, Lagos relies on ninety percent of it’s intra-city transportation on roads.
While far reaching attempt was made by the late Lateef Jakande administration to build a metro line in 1980,such has not seen the light of the day until approval was given to then governor Babatunde Fashola in 2008.
Today, while the construction of two metro rail lines known as Blue and Red lines to lift 1.5 million passengers daily and development of water transportation all over the state is still on, the government is fighting tooth and nail to curb lawlessness on its roads by the owners of one million, six hundred thousand (1.6m)vehicles plying it on a daily basis.
Lawlessness on Lagos roads, have not only led to various deaths and serious injuries, it has seriously compounded movement of vehicles and ease of doing business as more time is spent on roads due partly to impunity by the various categories of vehicle owners.
The decision by the Babajide Sanwoolu government early September to enforce traffic rules first promulgated by Fashola in 2012 to ease transportation has led to the auctioning of 134 vehicles whose owners committed series of traffic offences to violate the revised Lagos traffic laws. The revised 2022 laws stipulated penalties for 36 offences to bring sanity to the insanity on Lagos roads.
Today, in Lagos the saying that it is safer to regard the next driver in front or behind you as crazy to avoid traffic infractions is almost a rule.
You either observe this and got to your destination safely and on time too or you spend hours haggling over bashing of your car by the ‘mad’ driver behind or in front of you.
Why would a sane person drive on One Way in a state like Lagos?
You also ask why would a sane person drive on dedicated Bus Rapid Transport, BRT lanes constructed to carry more passengers?.
Breaking traffic rules with impunity by all categories of drivers in Lagos has almost be a norm just as bragging about ability by offenders to circumvent the rules by indecent means among which is corruption.
You will also ask how many of those kicking against the auction of their vehicles for breaking the extant laws have lost any relative due to driving One Way with impunity.
Are we saying those who cause untimely deaths by bad driving habits should go scot free?.
Is driving One Way on highway or without drivers license not a criminal offence since lack of basic rules on driving have sent many innocent commuters to their early graves and cause permanent physical damage to innocent pedestrians?
If a law says you should not drive on BRT lane failure which you will pay N70,000 ,is that law more grievous to consequential damage and obstruction to free flow of traffic?
Since Tribunals are not normal courts, are violators not opportune to appeal the judgements caused by their lack of discretion?
Is conducting a psychiatric test on those who drive One Way not enough warning that those who pass such tests deserves to spend three years behind bars for willfully disobedience to cause harm to fellow humans?
Yes, confiscation of vehicles may appear too harsh but have violators consider the penalties of their impunity before breaking such laws.
And when they brake such laws, why not take the pain to raise money to pay the penalty since their lack of discretion is a disruption of the system.
Like a saying, “where there is no law, there is no offence”,
has violators of the 36 laws taken measure to update themselves with traffic laws since ignorance of the law is not an excuse before the law?
Yes, prison experience is draconic, disobedience too has its bad effect on the polity.
Just as driving without valid driver’s license leads to your vehicle being impounded, spending more time in the driving school or processing drivers license is also part of the requirements for driving on a road.
Since driving on a road in a mega city has its benefits and advantages, operators of private and commercial vehicles should also help the system by obeying laws which by itself contribute to instilling sanity on our roads and making life and living better for all.
Here are the offences and penalty:
1. Driving without a Driver’s licence – Impound vehicle.
2. Driving of any vehicle by a person under 18 – N30,000.
3. Driving with fake number plates – N30,000, 3 years in prison.
4. Driving with forged vehicle particulars – 6 months in prison.
5. Driving with a fake driver’s licence – 6 months in prison.
6. Driving without road worthiness – Impound vehicle.
7. Driving only yellow – N80,000. Enforce painting
8. Driving without Hackey permit – Impound vehicle.
9. No display of Hackey permit – Impound vehicle
10. Kabu Kabu without a permit – Impound vehicle
11. Disobeying LASTMA Officer – N30,000/ Impound vehicle.
12. Neglect of traffic direction light – 3 months in prison.
13. Smoking while driving – N30,000/Impound vehicle.
14. Physically assault traffic officer – N50,000/6 months in prison.
15. Driving without full light – N50,000.
16. Driving with worn out tyre – N30,000.
17. Driving without spare tyre – N30,000
18. Driving smoking vehicle – N30,000
19. No fire extinguisher – N30,000
20. Broken windscreen – N30,000
21. Tinted windscreen – N30,000
22. Eating and driving with one hand – 3 months in prison.
23. One way driving – 3 years in prison
24. Driving without fasten seat belt – N30,000
25. Not painting a commercial vehicle the approved colour – N50,000
26. No car hire service permit – 1st 20,000; 2nd N30,000, Impound vehicle
27. Parking on the yellow line on any public highway/ illegal parking – 1st N20,000; subsequent N30,000
28. Vehicle crossing double yellow line/center line – 1st N20,000; subsequent N30,000.
29. Staying within the yellow junction box (offside rule) – 1st N20,000; subsequent N30,000
30. Failure to yield to the right of the way of the pedestrian at a zebra crossing – 1st N20,000; subsequent N30,000.
31. Failure to give to traffic on the left at a roundabout – 1st N20,000; subsequent N30,000.
32. Driving on walkway or kerb – Impound
33. Reversing on the highway & parking on walkways – 50,000 naira
34. Obstruction of traffic -20,000 naira
35. Picking/Dropping passengers on illegal B/stop – 50,000 naira
36. Driving on BRT lanes – 70,000 naira.