The trucks on Lagos roads
THE incessant carnage on the road occasioned by the recklessness of drivers of articulated vehicles in Lagos has brought into focus the need for the state government to immediately and strictly enforce the law restricting their movement to a particular time. To ensure a safe environment for both motorists and commuters, the state government banned articulated vehicles from moving between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
But apparently due to a lack of enforcement of this regulation, articulated trucks have been competing with other vehicles, motorists and commuters on the roads at a time they should not be on the roads. The result is that these trucks cause accidents with tragic consequences. The latest tragedy occurred at Ojuelegba, Surulere Local Council Area of the state. It involved a container-laden articulated vehicle, which fell on vehicles and killed some people. There have also been some trucks laden with petroleum products which caused accidents that triggered infernos, destroying lives and property in the metropolis recently.
Miffed by the tragedy, the Lagos State government has vowed to enforce its law restricting the movement of articulated vehicles. While the resolve of the government is commendable, the problem is that it has been expressed too late. The government should have taken the enforcement of the law more seriously before now. For the articulated vehicles and their drivers have for a long time constituted themselves into a menace to the society. Aside from the fact that most of these drivers are young and barely literate, they are too reckless on the road. Unfortunately, most of the roads are ridden with potholes and the slightest obstruction to the movement of any of these vehicles results in an accident.
Sadly, the Lagos State government would seem to have relaxed in its resolve to make the city a more habitable place as the kind of squalor and filthy lifestyle that residents thought they would never see again are beginning to re-appear in the city, and in unexpected places too. For instance, the state government was once able to change Oshodi from a notorious den of hoodlums, an axis of the worst traffic congestion to a beautiful trading post where some order reigned. But now the hoodlums have not only returned, the roads at Oshodi have been rendered impassable by heavy traffic because of the lawlessness of bus drivers and touts.
Apart from the recklessness of motorists, another reason there is chaotic traffic in Lagos is that the roads are not enough. Thus there is the need for the much voiced need for the Federal Government to stay true to the original pledge when the nation’s capital moved to Abuja, of giving Lagos a special treatment with infrastructure. The governments, federal and state alike, should build more roads in the state, and to overcome the challenge of lack of space for more roads, it is necessary for them to construct overhead bridges.
Over the years, the Lagos State government has found it difficult to check the recklessness of drivers because it does not have enough personnel to monitor the city. Unlike in the advanced countries of the world, the state government still uses men and women to physically monitor strategic areas of the city in a bid to control traffic and check motorists’ recklessness. This is not sustainable in cost and efficiency. To bring order to the traffic situation of the state, the government should deploy technology. It should use cameras to monitor the traffic in the city to reduce dependence on the physical presence of men and women.
However, in the long run, there is the need for government at both the federal and state levels to develop the railway and waterway systems. Most of those articulated vehicles that cause accidents on the roads are used for transporting petroleum products, goods and even livestock. Revitilised railway and waterway systems can do this effectively without causing havoc on the roads.
In checking tragedies and other forms of destruction caused by these trucks, such agencies as the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) should be alive to their assignments and stop articulated vehicles that are not good from being used on the roads as well as check whether the drivers of these accident-prone articulated vehicles are qualified to drive on the roads. All must work to stop the carnage by joining hand with the state government to make roads safe for both motorists and commuters.