Lagos is a state with hardly any road signs. Actually, scratch that. There are no road signs in Lagos, period! Where the roads are not pot holed, they are not marked. Where the roads are marked, they are done with no attention to detail for the most part.
My niece is 2 years old right now. Whenever I look at her, I remember stories her mother told me about her cravings while pregnant. My sister in-law was the stereotypical pregnant woman. If she saw it, she wanted it. If she wanted it, she had to get it and that was the only way to bring about world peace for her. There was a phase when it was cakes or nothing. She was devoted to eating cakes at every opportunity so much so that her daughter’s energy these days is hardly surprising. I keep telling her the poor girl is still on a sugar high from her days as a fetus.
The glove compartment in her car back then, was like a mini store. Cakes, chewing gum, cold drinks, etc. They had to be there for her to get through her day. She’s not done having kids, so those cravings may be back again when next she’s pregnant. This either means that my sister in-law will have to cough up N20,000 every time she drives to work and is seen eating, or she’ll have to sit her big tummy at home for 9 months, quit her job and not touch a steering wheel, or get a driver by force regardless of the fact that she may not be able to afford one.
I painted the above scenario as an extreme example of what we’re about to face with these new Lagos State traffic laws. Funny, may be too light a word to describe them. It is pretty obvious that someone was bored and wanted to get our minds off the disappointments that have been the London Olympics. How on earth do half those laws make any sense?
I have always been an advocate of relegating trucks to off peak times on the roads, so it’s a relief that there are plans to keep them off the road during the day from 6am to 9pm. It’s also great that driving against traffic is being frowned upon seriously. Punishing commercial motorcyclists for riding without crash helmets and letting people know that they must give way to traffic on the left at roundabouts and intersections, are all welcome developments; even if some of the fines seem ridiculous. But that’s about it.
The Lagos State government brought up interesting points about how Nigerians like to complain about laws here, but behave properly and follow the rules when they travel to first world countries. What he failed to mention, was that these cars we all drive, were made in those same countries and they all come with accessories like cup/coffee holders and cigarette lighters. I don’t know any study that has ever shown that smoking and driving leads to unimaginable accident levels. Neither has it been shown anywhere that driving with one hand is a sure way to die. Where does that leave amputees?
The laws get even more vague with each line. It has always been against the law to use telephones while driving. The reinforcement that comes with these new laws makes it a little confusing. Does it now also mean that we can’t even take calls with hands free gadgets? The same gadgets made in those first world countries so that one can answer phone calls and still drive hands on.
Lagos is a state with hardly any road signs. Actually, scratch that. There are no road signs in Lagos, period! Where the roads are not pot holed, they are not marked. Where the roads are marked, they are done with no attention to detail for the most part. It’s not uncommon to go through parts of Ikorodu Road for example and see road markings in 3 different lines, making one unsure of what the proper one is. Why are laws the priority when most of these problems are still left unattended?
Also, do these laws mean that pregnant drivers who feel the need to chew gum will automatically become criminals? Do amputees have to sell their cars? Does a serial coffee drinker like me now have to sit through my 2 hour drive from the mainland to the island in the morning staring at my coffee holder and having minor palpitations because I cant touch it? Does this mean that hawking in traffic is also banned since half the things shoved through car windows are edible? And finally, how will the law enforcement agents know who a drunk driver is and what levels constitute drunkenness? Seriously…
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.