Road traffic rules and regulations refers to traffic laws governing the use of the roads targeted to prevent accidents and to ensure free flow of traffic. These rules explains the dos and don’ts for motor vehicle and other road users on the roads. They are there to also enhance drivers safety ( consciousness) and improve road safety awareness. Traffic rules and regulations: NRTR states how to shared the road between users and the extend of ones right and limits while using public roads. In other words, it is a general principle that apply to using public roads anywhere in the world. However, in a narrower sense, these rules vary from one society to another depending on the circumstances and peculiarity of such societies.
Traffic Rules And Regulations In America
In America some rules vary from state to state. These difference can pertain to signage, speed limit and the punishments for breaking certain laws. However, if you choose to drive when visiting or moving to the US, there are a number of key regulations that apply across the country. Hence, Some General Driving Rules In US.
For instance, they operate the right hand steering system. These system differs in many fundamental respect and they affect the rules governing the use of public roads. It is important however to point out that no matter the variations that may exist in the different application of road traffic rules, these rules are in most part usually codified. In other words, one may not be liable for any unwritten highway regulation or so called common sense traffic rules.
The National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR) in Nigeria
In Nigeria, the first transport law was the Highway (motor traffic) Ordinance of 1913 in Southern Nigeria then the motor traffic Ordinance 1916 throughout Nigeria. Also, traffic laws are placed under the concurrent list. Thus both the federal, state and local government can make legislation on it.
For the purpose of this topic however, we shall consider road traffic rules and regulations: NRTR as they relate specifically to the Nigerian context. The rules are contained inside the Nigerian Road Traffic Act, the Revised Highway Code, the National Road Traffic Regulations and the FRSC (Establishment) Act. Most road users have a highway code but may not have the National Road Traffic Regulation. Meanwhile, our focus will not be on the Highway code, or other books but on the National Road Traffic Regulations. Specific effort would be made to bring out issues in it.
NRTR is designed to remove discrepancies and variations in highway regulation among states in the federation. However, it is difficult to compress the whole traffic regulations into a single write-up and so below is an extensive view of it.
Overview Of National Road Traffic Regulation
Traffic rules and regulations: NRTR contained the following
There are different category, classes and colors of drivers license. It is a legal requirement for someone who wishes to drive. The processing of drivers licence has a tripartite arrangement between the FRSC, BIR and VIO.
Taxi, stage carriages and omnibuses:
The number of passengers carried by taxi should be written on it, the word TAXI should be painted on the taxi. The taxi should carry the colour approved by each state. Two(2) children less than 12 years are taken as one passenger. The driver must have C or E license and carry a badge (can be withdrawn if offence is committed) after demonstrating knowledge of the shortest route in the area licensed for. The conductor must also have his own badge, which is non-transferable.
The driver, conductor, or owner must have not make any noise, sound instrument to attract public attention, constitute nuisance, quarrel, abuse, inconvenience passenger or smoke in the vehicle, shall not refuse to go to where indicated, no passenger shall spit out of vehicle, sell anything in vehicle, converse with driver on motion, smoke or refuse to pay when demanded.
Special provisions relating to the driving of commercial vehicles:
No driver must drive continuously for more than five and half hours (5.5 hours). Except he has to conclude a journey of not more than ten and half hours(10.5 hours) to 12.5 hours. During which he must rest for at least 30 minutes.
Removal of vehicles:
This covers the removal of vehicles abandoned or obstructing highway. The owner must in addition to show evidence of ownership and must pay prescribed fines and towing fees. Also, if the vehicle is not claimed after six(6) months, it is disposed by court.
This speaks about every traffic offence already listed in the notice of offence sheet. It also involves the rules of the road, obstructing and assaulting marshal on duty.
Regulation of vehicles:
Verification of the weights, registration book which should always be kept in the vehicle. It must be produce on demand by the police. And required before any vehicle change of ownership can be effected. Any alteration of this book constitutes an offence.
Special provisions relating to expressway:
Example, No cattle should pass here, no motorcycle except power bikes. No trucks or pedal cyclist or pedestrians or agricultural machines, no parking, stopping or ‘U’ turn.
Miscellaneous motor traffic:
Any road marshal or police may stop any vehicle. This is to find out if the vehicle contravened the use for which it was licensed. The federal, state and local government as well as diplomatic vehicles are exempted from licensing fees.
Provision relating to pedestrians and to traffic other than motor traffic:
Overtake only by the left. Vehicles must have brake and horn for warning, do not ride horse drawn carts on highway. Two cycles must not ride beside each other except overtaking and do not ride while holding a vehicle.
This is issued for 6-12 months validity if it is permitted. Or 14 days if it is temporary upon the payment of registration book, insurance and perhaps road worthiness certificate, after physical observation to ascertain the use of such vehicles. A temporary license is issued to car dealer(valid anywhere in Nigeria) untill the vehicle is sold. But such vehicle is not to ply the road on Sundays, public holidays and between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am. The vehicle license (excluding trade license) shall displayed on whatever the type of vehicle.
International convention provision:
All registered vehicles must be examined by VIO before international vehicles or driving license is issued as the case may be. The international circulation certificate is valid for 12 months during which the holder is in Nigeria. A vehicle using international certificate shall carry an oval sticker NGR and this must be removed as soon as the certificate is invalid. An international driving license is given to a Nigerian resident wishing to travel abroad. But he must first have Nigerian driving license.
Military and road construction vehicles are exempted from weight, mirror, tyre, reverse and turning, proper parking and other limitations. They do not need to carry tyre replacement kit; they do not need to obey traffic sign at least in their working site etc.
Road traffic rules in Nigeria are really not exhaustive nor adequate to meet the demands of a complex motoring public. They are however sufficient for the level of road transport development in the country today. The problem however is how to deal with the attitude of the (Nigerian) drivers. Who does not learn nor obey the road traffic rules and regulations: NRTR. We need to improve on statutory provisions regarding the use of our highways. But most importantly is the need for an urgent attitudinal change by our motoring public. The national and state house of assembly should reduce carnage on the roads by promulgating adequate legislation.