Traffic Offence - Driving Against Traffic Lagos - The One-Way Offence - Are The Fines Beneficial?
Driving against traffic, popularly called one-way driving, is a practice that is unacceptable in virtually every part of the world. The risks involved are profound.
Unfortunately, it has become a common practice in Lagos Nigeria especially among commercial bus drivers. This has further compounded the already bad traffic situation in Lagos Nigeria.
To combat this menace, the Lagos state government under former governor Ahmed Tinubu prescribed a fine of 50,000 Naira for offenders and a psychiatric test. The offender's vehicle stays impounded during this period and is only released after all conditions have been meant.
This strict measure was suppose to deter motorists from driving against traffic and maintain sanity on the roads.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case. In fact, it appears as if the number of drivers driving one-way actually increased in the period as many non-commercial drivers also joined in.
The new administration under the new governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola, sought to stamp out this ugly trend by increasing the fine paid by offenders and compounding the resolution process.
This is the current situation.
If you drive against traffic and you're caught by the authorities, your car will be impounded and will be released after you . . .
1. Pay the new fine of 250,000 to the government
2. Pass the psychiatric test
3. Attend two weeks driving course and
4. Show your tax clearance certificate as proof that you've paid your tax to date
The resolution process is tedious enough to stop anyone from driving one
way. But it's not stopping Nigerians.
Because the majority of people caught 'settle' (or bribe)the government traffic officials and they get away with the crime.
Here's how it works.
You are caught driving against traffic. The traffic personnel threatens to take you to their office to pay the heavy fine of 250,000 Naira.
The fine is indeed heavy and so you plead for mercy. He tells you he will 'help' you. He says you should pay him a certain amount so he can release you so you don't have to pay the government that pocket-blowing amount.
When the government fine was 50,000 Naira, the officials accepted 5,000 to 20,000. Now that the fine has gone to 250,000 they tell you to pay 10,000 to 70,000.
Don't have money? Don't want to pay?
Well, "I will book you, take you to the traffic offences office, and you will pay the full fine of 250,000 or you lose your car".
In simple terms, the huge fine has put people at the mercy of corrupt government officials and has made a few people rich.
The simple truth is . . . very few traffic offenders can afford to pay 250,000. So, they inevitably bribe the officials who let them go.
The government loses revenue.
Honestly . . .
Huge unreachable fines for traffic offences won't stop traffic crimes. It will only enrich a few individuals in the traffic authority.
So, what should the government do?
I don't have all the answers. Do you?