Governor Babatunde Fashola
Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola on Thursday signed the state’s Road Traffic Law which recommends psychiatric, breath and urine tests, fines and prison terms, among others for traffic offences.
Fashola, during a short signing ceremony at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja, said the law was in response to the growing challenges of road traffic management in the state.
He said while his administration was addressing transportation challenges, the law would complement government’s efforts.
He urged motorists to see the law as a means to change the state for the better, adding that it would be good if motorists complied rather than be arrested.
He said, “There are rules like this in many cities that we have travelled to and we comply. Why is it difficult to comply at home?
“The deputy governor and I are the only ones that have immunity from arrest, but we will subject ourselves to the law because no one will be above this law.
“Those that drive against traffic when we are on the queue are cheating us and we will not allow such to happen again. If we cannot reclaim sanity in our society for the coming generation, I think we have failed.”
Fashola lamented the increase in road accidents due to recklessness of commercial motorcycle operators, popularly called Okada rider. He said their excesses had been addressed in the law.
The governor urged traffic management agencies in the state to ensure compliance with the law, saying the purpose of the law must be achieved.
He also warned public officials to comply with the law.
The governor added, “We expect cooperation and we are recruiting lawyers from the private sector to prosecute traffic offences.”
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said the state government would carry out a comprehensive programme to sensitise the public to ensure that people did not fall victim of the law due to ignorance.
He explained that the enforcement of the law would not take effect until it had been gazetted and circulated to all stakeholders.
The traffic law prohibits motorists from eating as well as making phone calls while driving.
It stipulates a fine of N20,000 for first offender and a maximum of three years imprisonment or N30,000 fine or both for subsequent offences.
It restricts okada, carts, wheel barrows and tricycles from operating in Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ikorodu Road, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Agege Motor Road, Funsho Williams Avenue, Eko Bridge, Third Mainland Bridge, Carter Bridge, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Victoria Island-Lekki-Epe Expressway and all bridges in the state.
Okada operators will now operate between 6am and 8pm where permitted in the state. However, motorcycles of courier companies are exempted with a proviso that they must have engine capacity of 200cc and must not carry any passenger.
The law also states that trailers will only be allowed in the state between 9pm and 6am. Fuel tankers and long vehicles for carrying passenger are, however, exempted.