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FRSC, LCCI, others propose separate route for trailers

By on September 6, 2015

The Federal Road Safety Corps and other stakeholders have called for the creation of separate routes for trailers to curb incessant fatal accidents involving articulated vehicles and other road users.

This follows the accident on Wednesday in Lagos, where a container on a 40-feet trailer fell off the Ojuelegba Bridge onto the road below, killing three people, as the fallen container crushed two private vehicles that were in motion.

The stakeholders, who spoke with our correspondents in separate interviews on Friday, also urged the government to restrict the movement of articulated vehicles to midnight and put in place mechanism to ensure strict compliance.

The Head of Media, Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr. Bisi Kazeem, said, “It is possible to have a bypass or separate route for trailers.”

A lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Festus Keyamo, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said, “There are two things the government needs to do. The first is that the movement of tankers should be restricted to midnight. Secondly, all those vehicles that carry containers from the ports, there needs to be a special agency that certifies them before they leave the ports.”

According to him, many of the vehicles even in their bad condition are allowed to carry heavy load.

“There should be a special agency that will certify those vehicles such that when an incident happens, it must be traceable to a particular agency that cleared the vehicles.”

The President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Alhaji Remi Bello, who recalled that the government had tried to restrict heavy-duty vehicles from moving during the day, said articulated vehicles should only be allowed to move at night.

Bello said there should be “regular enforcement to ensure that trucks and trailers do not pass through prohibited roads. I could recollect that they were sometimes outlawed from climbing bridges. I don’t know why they still use the bridges. I think enforcement is very key.”

He also recalled that in the past, overhead barriers were erected at the bridge entry points to prevent those vehicles from passing through bridges.

Another Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Babatunde Adeyanju, who described the Wednesday’s accident as avoidable tragedy, also supported the need to bar trucks from operating in the day time.

He said, “It is embarrassing for something of this nature to be happening. We have road traffic law in Lagos State, which says a trailer should not move between 6am and 9pm. No trailer other than petrol tankers should move during this period.

“The law does allow petrol tankers to climb the bridge. They should not climb the bridge. But in Nigeria, anything goes. No enforcement agents will arrest them.

Akinyanju said if the state government could create a dedicated lane for the BRT buses, “the same should be done for heavy-duty vehicles. If the government is serious, there should be a way to create a separate road for the trailers. Many of the drivers don’t have respect for other road users. They will harass and brush your vehicles.”

The state traffic law barring trailers from travelling within the Lagos metropolis between 6am and 9pm states that “any driver found contravening the provisions of this section shall have his vehicle impounded by a duly authorised officer of the authority and shall upon conviction be liable to a fine of N50,000 or a term of imprisonment for six months or both.”

The spokesperson for the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Shina Thorpe, commenting on the non-implementation of the law barring trailers from moving during the day, Thorpe said, “The position of the state government is to promote trade and commerce. There were some challenges in terms of security on the movement of those trucks during the wee-hours. And that is why the government had to understand from the point of view of the operators. But now that this has happened, everything is now going to be put in place after the recommendations are being implemented.”

Meanwhile, Thorpe said the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, through the ministry, had set up a fact-finding committee to look into the details of the accident and would come up with far-reaching recommendations.