BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI
…Govt assesses the lapses, speaks of phase two
GOVERNOR Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, on August 2, 2012, signed the Lagos State’s Road Traffic bill into a law aimed at ensuring safe driving culture and maintaining discipline on the road.
The law which was later gazetted, bars commercial motorcyclists, known as; Okada riders from plying 475 roads across the state, among others. It will be one year that the amended road traffic law took effect on Friday. Fashola, giving detailed background into the history of the various amendments to the state’s traffic laws, said his government discovered that the laws of 50 years ago could no longer regulate traffic in the present time.
According to him, the traffic law of Lagos was driven and informed by the security difficulties experienced by the State in 2007 when in the first week after he assumed office, he was either at the mortuary or emergency wards of hospitals to see people who were victims of violent attacks.
The governor said one of the first steps taken by his administration was the setting up of a Security Trust Fund after passage of the enabling law by the State House of Assembly adding that this paved the way for a reduction of crime by 79 percent in the state.
Lapses of the law
Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, while assessing the law said;. “The law has scored up to 95 percent which is good for the state like Lagos, but recently, we began to see some attempts, mainly by people impersonating as military officers.
“These are still the people you usually find on the roads violating the law. And we will be appealing to those uniform personnel and some people who have recently migrated into the state to comply with law in their own interest.
“We have seen in some areas where some members of the Community Development Associations CDA and Community Development Committee CDC, on their own personal effort have encouraged the business and collecting money to cater for their personal needs.
“We have also seen situations where Okada riders park on the unrestricted road and from their launched onto the restricted roads but by and large, we are at a very high level of compliance.
“On making phone calls while driving, there are still recalcitrant drivers receiving calls while behind the wheels. We have seen a considerable high level of compliance in Lagos State.
Before now some women, while on the wheel used to apply their make-ups and do some other funny things but all these have relatively reduced.
Opeifa, speaking on the truck and articulated vehicles regulation part of the law said: “People talk of accidents, we have had incident of trailers breakdown, but it is mostly at night. And the evacuation is done immediately. We have also seen situation where articulated trucks breakdown during the day, they are roads that are naturally routes for articulated trucks. It is not as if they are on inner city roads. They are on major roads. We are getting there to their regulation..
Second phase of the law
As we move into the second phase of the law, we have been able to achieve what we set out to do in the first phase. What we wanted in the first place was introduction and acceptance of the law.
“The second phase will demand closing on areas that require additional regulation and putting up structures to enhance their implementation. As we move ahead, we are now looking into a reform in the public transportation system. We are looking to reform in the way that commercial vehicles and taxis in the state operates.”
“We are also looking into how to provide more public transport with the injection of more buses, so that there will be more public transport patronage. We are also looking into the on-street parking system. We have concluded the required policies but what was delaying it was the regulation.
“This is the time when we will commence the critical part of the law which is enforcement. At a point where no one will say he is not aware of the law. We have concluded the first aspect now.
“What we have been able to achieve will be apparent at the next stage, when we start to put up the structures that will enable the government officials to enforce the law.”