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Car Talk

Apr 18, 2024

Navigating Your way on Nigerian roads: 20 Nigerian unpopular road laws

Driving on the road is more than just following the traffic laws. There are unpopular rules of the road that all drivers should be aware of, but are not explici...

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Driving on the road is more than just following traffic laws. There are unpopular rules of the road that all drivers should be aware of but are not explicitly taught in driving school.

These road rules can help reduce the risk of accidents, avoid certain consequences, and ultimately, make the driving experience more enjoyable for everyone.

This article will discuss some of these unpopular road laws according to the Federal Road Safety Commission, Act 2007. National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012.

1. Registration of Vehicles

Any person applying to register a vehicle shall submit to the appropriate authority an application for registration duly completed as in Form MVA 1 specified by these Regulations and pay to the authority the fees as may be prescribed and published by the Joint Tax Board from time to time.

The relevant Authority, shall on receipt of a proper application and fee, if any, register the particulars of the vehicle and issue a Vehicle License if the vehicle was not previously registered in Nigeria, or if the vehicle was previously owned by an exempted body.

2. Registration of Fancy Plate Numbers

An application for out-of-series, fancy, and special identification number plates shall be as prescribed in Form MVA2 specified in these Regulations.

Any person who wishes to transfer the out-of-series or fancy number plates of any vehicle to another shall obtain a police clearance and attach same to his application to the authority who may approve as deemed fit upon payment of the prescribed fee provided that the Authority shall be that of the State of last Registration.

In addition to the provisions of these regulations, no vehicle shall be registered except such vehicle has been examined and certified suitable by the Vehicle Inspection Officer.

3. Driving with Vehicle’s Particulars and License

(a) Any person driving a vehicle on any public road shall have an original driver’s license but where the person has the photocopy, he shall within 24 hours provide the original driver’s license to the appropriate authority if demanded.

Any person who contravenes these regulations commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of 10,000 naira or to a term of 1-year imprisonment.

(b) Any person driving a vehicle on any public road shall have at least the photocopies of the vehicle’s particulars, and the original shall be provided within 24 hours to the appropriate authority if demanded.

Any person who contravenes these regulations commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of 3,000 naira or to a term of 6 months imprisonment.

(c) A person driving any motor vehicle or trailer who uses a forged driver’s license or a driver’s license belonging to another person commits an offense and shall on conviction be liable to a fine of 20,000 naira or to a term of 1-year imprisonment or both

4. Ownership of Registration Book

A registration book as specified in Form MVA 4 of these Regulations shall be issued by the appropriate Authority to the owner of a vehicle upon the payment of the prescribed registration fee and shall constitute the permanent record of the vehicle.

The registration book shall be required to be in the vehicle and liable to be produced on demand by any appropriate authority.

Any driver who fails to comply with the provisions of sub-regulation (2) of this regulation commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 1,000 naira or to imprisonment for a term of six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

5. Mishandling the Registration Book

Anyone who makes an unauthorized entry or alteration in the registration book relating to a vehicle or willfully destroys or defaces any entry in the registration book commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 20,000 naira or imprisonment for a term of 6 months or to both such fine and imprisonment

6. Learner’s Permit and Driver’s License

Subject to the provisions of these Regulations, an applicant for a learner’s Permit shall pay the prescribed fees and shall be granted a Learner’s Permit which shall entitle him to drive a motor vehicle of the group or type stated in the permit for a period not exceeding three months from the date of issuance of the Learner’s Permit.

The holder of a Learner’s Permit shall not carry any passenger except a licensed driver or certified instructor licensed to drive the category of vehicle being driven. The holder of this permit shall not drive without a licensed driver or instructor sitting by his side in the passenger’s seat.

Any person who while driving a motor vehicle uses a forged permit commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 20,000 naira or to a term of 1-year imprisonment or to both.

7. Special Provisions relating to Operators of Transport Services

A person or Organization shall not operate a transport company unless he has fulfilled the necessary conditions as prescribed by the appropriate Commission authority, and has obtained a certificate of compliance of same from the appropriate authority which must be placed at the operator’s business headquarters and operating terminals.

Any person or organization who contravenes the provision of this regulation shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 100,000 naira or a term of imprisonment of one year for the first offender and be given 3 months to comply.

Subsequent offenders shall in addition to the stipulated penalty have their operation barred.

8. Reporting of Road Crashes

Any crash on a public road shall be reported to the nearest Police Station and Federal Road Safety Commission office or any appropriate authority nearest to the scene of the crash.

The driver or any person involved in such a crash shall immediately or as soon as the practicable report to the nearest Federal Road Safety Corps office or Police station for appropriate action.

Any person who fails to comply with this regulation commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 20,000 naira or to a term of 1-year imprisonment or both.

9. Overloading a Vehicle

A driver or any person in charge of a vehicle who overloads the vehicle with passengers or loads beyond the capacity permitted or prescribed by the appropriate authority commits an offense and shall on conviction be liable to a fine of 10,000 naira or to a term of 6 months imprisonment or to both.

10. Traffic Sign Violation

A person driving or in control of a vehicle shall obey all directions, whether verbal or signal given by the appropriate authority to stop the vehicle or make it slow down or keep to any directed line of traffic or to park at an indicated place, obey all traffic signs or traffic signals on any public road.

Failure to obey a road traffic sign is an offense and any person caught contravening this regulation shall be liable to pay a fine of 5,000 naira for each traffic sign violation or to a term of 9 months imprisonment or both.

11. Spilling Vehicle’s load on Public road

A vehicle shall not have its load spilling on a public road such that it causes danger to other road users or litters the public road. All such loads shall be adequately covered.

Any person who contravenes this provision commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 5,000 naira or to a term of 9 months imprisonment or to both.

12. General Duties of Drivers of Vehicles or Passengers on Public Roads

No driver of a vehicle shall whilst the vehicle is in motion receive or make a telephone call in any form.

An instructor shall not make or receive a telephone call in any form while supervising a learner undertaking driving lessons.

Any person acting in contravention of these regulations commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 4,000 naira or to a term of 6 months imprisonment or to both.

13. Rules of Driving Recklessly on a public road

A person who drives or operates a vehicle on a public road dangerously or recklessly commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 50,000 naira or to a term of 2 years imprisonment or both.

14. Change of Vehicle Color

Where the color of a vehicle is to be changed, the owner shall Apply for approval from the Authority in Form MVA 6 of these Regulations and unless such an application is approved, the owner of the vehicle Shall be restrained from changing the color of the vehicle.

A new vehicle license shall be issued after payment of the fees prescribed to reflect the new color of the vehicle and the old vehicle license shall be withdrawn from the owner.

Where the color of a vehicle is changed without due approval, the license of such a vehicle shall become invalid and the owner of the vehicle has committed an offense under these regulations and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 3,000 naira or to imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both.

15. Replacement Of Engine

Where there is a replacement of the engine of a registered vehicle, the owner shall notify the authority as in Form MVA 7 in these regulations and shall pay the prescribed fee.

16. Driving Without a Valid License

A person shall not drive on a public road a motor vehicle of any class or description unless he is the holder of a valid driver’s license in respect of that class of vehicle.

Any person who contravenes the provision of this regulation commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of 10,000 naira or a term of one-year imprisonment or both.

17. Commercial Vehicles and Intercity journey

Before commencing any intercity journey, all passenger-carrying commercial vehicles shall keep and maintain a passenger manifest indicating the names of its passengers, addresses, points of departure and destination, their telephone numbers, name and the telephone number of the next of kin.

A driver or person taking charge of a passenger-carrying commercial vehicle who fails to comply with the provision of this regulation commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 10,000 naira or to a term of 6 months imprisonment or both.

18. Motor vehicle specifications

A motor vehicle shall not be registered or driven on a public road if the steering apparatus is fitted on the right-hand side of the vehicle. Upon an arrest of any individual caught contravening this regulation, the appropriate authority may file for the forfeiture of this vehicle from the high court.

A motor vehicle for use on the Nigerian road must be equipped with a steering airbag to prevent head injury to the driver in case of a crash.

Any person who contravenes any of these regulations is liable on conviction to a fine of 20,000 naira or to a term of 6 months imprisonment or to both.

19. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs

No person shall drive or occupy the driver’s seat of any vehicle on a public road while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect while the engine is running.

Failure to adhere to this regulation attracts a fine of 5,000 naira or a term of 6 months imprisonment or both.

20. Road construction regulations

Any person or company organization or enterprise involved in the construction or maintenance of a public road shall provide adequate warning signs of the ongoing construction or maintenance at the construction area day and night.

Failure to comply with this provision is an offense and any person, company, organization, or enterprise in contravention shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 50,000 naira or a term of 18 months imprisonment or both.

In conclusion, these road laws are important to follow to ensure safe and responsible driving. Following these rules not only reduces the risk of accidents but also helps you stay out of trouble that may land you serious consequences and also makes the driving experience smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.

For more insight on these road laws, listen to the podcast here:

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