VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER

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Road Safety Article

As I round up the focus on appropriate vehicle registration,let me again shed light on  the National Road Traffic Regulations which  in   Part VI titled, VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER requires  motorists to comply thus; Section 36 states that All private and commercial vehicles shall as from the commencement of these Regulations have on them Vehicle Identification Number Plates which shall -Be carried by the motor vehicle on two plates which shall conform to the requirements of these regulations; and the number plate shall be fixed-in such a manner that each is not easily detachable; and in an upright position or within 15 degrees of such position

The Regulations states in Section 37- (1)   that The Identification Number Plates carried by a motor vehicle or articulated vehicle shall be displayed on two plates for a motor vehicle and three plates for an articulated vehicle and shall conform as to lettering, numbering and otherwise with the provision set out in figures 1-11 of schedule 5 to these regulations. The number plates shall in respect of a motor vehicle be fixed, one on the front of the vehicle and the other at the centre or on the off side of the rear of the vehicle or as may be provided by the manufacturer. In respect of a trailer, be fixed one on the front of the vehicle and two at the rear of the trailer in an upright position. For  motorcycle, it states that one plate shall be fixed in front and one at the rear with the plate having white background but blue lettering for private green lettering for the Federal, State or Local Government, black lettering for the Armed Forces, Paramilitary Service and red lettering for commercial, so that every letter or figure on the plate is up- right and easily distinguishable in the case of the front plate from behind. In the case of the recovery of a semi-trailer, the operator of the prime mover shall be required to ensure that the entire articulated vehicle carries the same identification number in respect of the prime mover and the semi-trailer. Each Identification Number Plate must be reflective and so made that any letter, numeral or other identifying mark displayed on it are legible at day time and at night in clear weather and must be visible and recognizable at a distance of not less than 60 metres by the driver of the immediate following vehicle and in the case of motorcycle at a distance of 30 metres.

Section 38-(1) states that a vehicle shall carry a Vehicle Tag as specified in Form MVA 25 of schedule 5 to these regulations which shall be issued along with the Vehicle Number Plate and shall carry the same number with the plate and be affixed to the rear windscreen. Except as otherwise provided under these regulations,   number plates shall be transferred from one vehicle or trailer to another; Number plates shall be attached to a person and not to a vehicle and that Number Plate shall be returned to the Motor Licensing Authority on sale of a car and the new owner shall obtain new set of number plate; while Proof of Ownership Certificate is mandatory for issuance of new number plates.

Having provided what the regulations mandates motorist to do, i will for reasons personal to me provide answers to the issues raised by the second caller who is like an aunty to me and who i respect without reservations. For emphasis, she lost her number plate and did attempt to comply with the regulations in keeping with the laws.  Unfortunately  she committed the same error most people commit, and fell into the hands of my men and spent hours complaining because according to her, she was convinced she had done all that was necessary. In dealing with her issue, Section 39-(1)   provides that  in case of a loss or damage to a vehicle number plate or a vehicle identification tag the owner of the vehicle or the driver shall do the following; Report the particulars of loss immediately to the nearest Police Station or a licensing Officer; Prove ownership of the lost plate by swearing to an affidavit stating the loss; and Pay the prescribed fee to the appropriate authority for a replacement of the lost number plate or identification tag. The owner of the vehicle or the driver may, where the necessary particulars of loss have been reported, construct a temporary number plate in the form of wood which shall conform to colouring, lettering codes, etc. As outlined in the provisions of this regulation. A temporary number plate shall be sufficient as the number plate until a new one is issued by the Authority within 14 days of payment of the replacement fee.

Unfortunately, what most people do is to either drive the vehicle with just one number plate or feign ignorance when arrested. Others like my aunt will report to the police, swear an affidavit but would assume that the two stand as replacement or authority to drive the vehicle. In her case, she claimed she had been driving the vehicle for over one year with the plastic number without anyone arresting her for violating the law .I must state here that as contained herein, the two does not confer on you the authority to drive the vehicle with one number plate but requires you to make payment and get a replacement for your vehicle. What motorists who indulge in this don’t know is the security implication of not reporting to the police especially in the event that a criminal minded person picks up the missing number plate and perpetuates any form of crime with it. 

All vehicles, private and commercial, shall as form the commencement of these regulations; have on them the Vehicle Identification Number Plates referred to in this regulation and it shall be an offence for any vehicle not to have the said Identification Number Plate.