Lagos - Mr Ade Ipaye, the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, on Monday unfolded plans by the state government to ban smoking in public places.
He said the provisions of the new Lagos State Traffic Laws had prohibited people from drinking or smoking while driving in the state.
Ipaye said though the new law was aimed at reducing road carnage, it was also part of the government’s plans to ban smoking in public place.
``It is an offence to smoke while driving, smoking is totally prohibited for drivers; obviously it is not just for safety reasons it is also for health reasons because we are moving towards banning smoking in all public places.
``It is an offence to drive drunk if you have been taking alcohol; if you’ve been taking drugs this law provides for blood test to determine whether you have ingested drugs which are inconsistent with your ability to drive.
``So, this law makes it an offence to drive without a driver’s license, without proper plate numbers. It is an offence to use the phone while you are driving except you have hands free set so you don’t need to put the set to your ear.’’
Clarifying the misconceptions about the new law, Ipaye said it ``seeks to criminalise traffic offences and sanction offenders, as part of strategy to bring under control, the chaotic traffic situation within the metropolis”.
He said that the Law was necessitated by the dire need to ensure the safety, health and security of road users.
According to him, the traffic situation in the state is becoming alarming, despite the ongoing repairs and construction of more roads.
``What necessitated the law, concerns the safety of Lagosians, the health of Lagosians, the security of Lagosians on our roads.
``This is because we notice that what is call go-slow continue to get worse despite the fact that we are building more roads.
``We are keeping the roads in good repairs, but still, we have that problem, and that problem is made worse now by commercial motorcycles, by cart pushers, by even people rearing cattle.
``There seem all of a sudden to be no rules; people just disobey the traffic lights.
``We are installing a lot of traffic lights too, but commercial motorcyclist don’t even feel bound by those lights.’’
He said that the law also prohibited eating on the highway; foods that could make the driver lose concentration.
He explained that anything that could engage a driver’s hand, such that it could make him a danger to other road users, was seriously prohibited.
The commissioner pointed out that the worse culprits were commercial bus drivers, who would even go as far as drinking alcohol while driving.
Ipaye also said that the state government would not hasten to prosecute offenders until the people were thoroughly sensitised.
``By the time we are satisfied that every individual is informed, we would send the enforcement agents to commence enforcement.’’
He, therefore, urged every road user to ensure compliance with the traffic laws, so as to promote safety on the high ways.