Since the speed limiter enforcement commenced on October 1, 2016, I have had the privilege of monitoring the enforcement by my men in Rivers State. October 1 was fairly encouraging as most fleet operators showed compliance. October 2, 2016 was however, dramatic and instructive. Let me spare you the drama and focus on the instructive lessons learnt on the second day. Most of the drivers from the unpopular transport companies either feigned ignorance or truly claimed not to know anything about speed limiter despite the series of consultations and awareness carried out by the Corps prior to 2016.I have therefore midwife series of road shows, park rallies and advocacies to further drive the message to these other categories of commercial drivers. Coincidentally, my editor on the same day challenged me to do a piece on how to verify speed limiter in a vehicle which is the focus for today.
Besides knowing how to verify if a vehicle is installed, it is important to know if there is a way for commuters to know if it is installed in a vehicle before boarding. Lastly, does the law demand passengers to ask the driver if his vehicle has a speed limiter?Before I treat the posers raised on how to verify, I must again state that the speed limiter is compulsory for all vehicles although the ongoing enforcement which kicked off on 1 Oct, 2016 focuses on commercial vehicles only. Secondly, statutorily compulsory use of speed limiting device on vehicles in Nigeria is contained in the FRSC Establishment Act (2007) and the National Road Traffic Regulation 2012.In Section 10, sub section (m) of the (Establishment) Act, 2007, the Commission is empowered in „‟determining and enforcing speed limits for all categories of roads and vehicles and controlling the use of speed limiting devices‟‟. It states that „‟All motor vehicles plying the highway shall be in possession of good electric or air horn, jack, wheel spanner, tools, fire extinguisher,
• Inflated spare tyre, first aid box, emergency warning triangles or cones, laminated windscreen and mirror, speed governor(ie.speed limiter), wipers, insurance certificate and road worthiness certificate. Similarly, in the National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR, 2012) it provides that,’’ A person shall not drive a vehicle on any public road which is not fitted with a speed limiter(ie.speed limiting device).
So how does one verify if a vehicle is installed with a speed limiter? Just like the case of verifying a driver’s license and number place plate, there are two approaches to verifying a speed limiter in a vehicle. The fist approach is the long one that requires you to go the FRSC website(www.frsc.gov.ng), homepage and click on the speed limiter link at the bottom of the page. This will take you to the portal where it will instruct you to confirm your speed limiter installation with the vehicle number plate by entering the vehicle number plate as indicated. If installed, it will show installed. A more direct approach is to directly log on to the speed limiter portal on [http://www.speedlimiter.frsc.gov%2Cng.this/]www.speedlimiter.frsc.gov,ng.This will take you directly to the portal where you will be required to enter the vehicle plate number in order to verify if it is installed. There is a third approach which is shorter and easier just like the case of drivers’ license and number plate. The short code will come in the follow up piece. For the avoidance of doubt, to verify your plate, you can use any of the following: Visit www.nvisng.org and verify the number plate or Text verifyplateno (Plate Number) to 33324 on your mobile phone. E.g. verifyplateno ABC000JR. Alernatively, you can visit the FRSC Desk Officers at the SBIRs.To verify drivers licence,text ‘’verifyDlicence ABJ1065AA’’ to 33324
My second poser is if there is any law that permits commuters to verify. Neither the FRSC Establishment Act nor the NRTR specifically makes copious provision for commuters to legally verify or ask a driver if his vehicle is installed with a speed limiting device. First I must state here that commercial drivers owe their passengers tortuous duty of care to take all reasonable safety precautions such as installing a speed limiter to ensure their safety, in addition to disclosing on demand whether the vehicle is installed with one.Secondly, commuters can and are allowed under the umbrella of the frsc mandate to ask a driver or alternatively personally verify using the same platform provided earlier. This is similar to the provisions, made by the frsc through the portal which allows one to verify the validity of the drivers licence or vehicle number place which was run on this same page. I believe strongly that the success of the ongoing enforcement which is meant to protect commuter’s interest lies so much on the buy in of commuters since they can use their phones to verify operators safety compliance and therefore could choose which operator is preferred based on compliance with speed limiter.
Once again, remember that excessive speeding according to my boss,Boboye Oyeyemi has been identified as a key risk factor in road traffic injuries, influencing both the risk of a road crash as well as the severity of the injuries that result from injuries.
Speed affects the driver, the vehicle, other road users and the environment underscoring the reason behind the FRSC initiatives. The functions of the speed limiting device he further maintained are therefore multi-dimensional. .“For car occupants in a crash with an impact speed of 80km/h, the likelihood of death is 20 times what it would have been at an impact speed of 30km/h.“Speed is the major cause of crashes in Nigeria with commercial vehicles accounting for 65 per cent of the crashes”. The effects of speed include: increased driver’s response time to objects and increase risk of collision, reduces the driver’s ability to steer safely and around curves and objects on the roads, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation.
The benefits of the initiatives include; lower speed resulting in less fuel consumption by vehicles, lower speed also cuts down vehicles maintenance cost and slows down depreciation value thus vehicles last longer. It will significantly impact positively in changing the individual driving behavior which has been hard to achieve over the years as it will reduce the speed of vehicle to pre-set limit thus reducing overall crash risk and likely to lessen severity of crash e. The initiatives will equally engender good monitoring mechanism for vehicle owners‟/fleet operators; engender compliance with the ECOWAS mandate and UN Decade of Action, as well as fulfillment of the Corps statutory functions through good practice. It will assist to eliminate losses associated with speed related crashes which are usually in vehicles loss, damage to roads and road infrastructure, house, goods etc and will also assist to preserve the young virile members of the society from deaths and maiming associated with speed induced crashes. It enables more relaxed driving and lower insurance premium as consequence of reduced crashes.