Why we’re strategic in impounding commercial vehicles — LASTMA

The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) says it impounds commercial vehicles sometimes outside the area where their drivers commit offences as a matter of strategy.

The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) says it impounds commercial vehicles sometimes outside the area where their drivers commit offences as a matter of strategy.

The Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, Adebayo Taofiq, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, in Lagos.

He said that the belief that commercial buses were ignored many times when committing offences was wrong, as the authorities had strategies to bring them to book.

“The fact remains that at the point few of them are committing these traffic infractions, as noticed by private car owners, they’re not apprehended, does not mean that we don’t have any plan of impounding them.

“For example, if you have a commercial bus coming from like Mile 12 going to Onipanu, if it commits any traffic infraction in Ketu, we have to be strategic if we want to arrest and impound a commercial bus, unlike the car owners.

“They don’t care for their vehicle to be arrested, they even get rid of anything ahead of them just to escape with their bus.

“In such case, our officers have to use their discretion in order not to cause any havoc.

“We use the new system that government gave us, which is the CMS camera, which is the traffic management device, and at times, officers use their phones to capture them,” he said.

Taofiq said that by the time such vehicles are captured while on transit by LASTMA officers ahead, due to the vehicle features taken and forwarded to be looked out for, passengers in the vehicle would not be aware of the driver’s offence.

He urged the public, especially passengers, to understand such situation and not believe such drivers were innocent.

“We see some passengers coming down from the bus and descending on our officers and some of them have been harmed and beaten up in the process.

“The passengers claim that the bus driver had not done anything without them having prior notice that the driver had committed an infraction previously.

“We just don’t pounce on these persons, an infraction had already been committed and we will not continue to tolerate these abuses on our officers, ” he said.

He, however, urged LASTMA officers to apply their discretion wisely in such instances, so that the passengers on board would not suffer unduly.

Taofiq said that discretionary measures could be to ensure that passengers are refunded their transport fares or even taken to the nearest bus stop so as to get buses to their destination.

“Using our discretion is part of training given to LASTMA officers to ensure safety of passengers which is paramount.

“Once a vehicle contravenes any section of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, such vehicle stands to be contravened and be in a position for LASTMA to impound it,” he said.

He said that traffic infractions by commercial buses had to be checked by LASTMA officers.

He urged the public to disregard insinuation in some quarters that LASTMA officers only concentrate on private cars, noting that there was no basic truth in that.

Taofiq said that since the new Area Manager, Mr Olalekan Bakare, assumed office on Nov. 20, 2023, there had been a lot of training and retraining of officers for them to be more prudent, civil and be empathetic on the road.

“Equally, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Sola Giwa has been of immense help towards having a new face of LASTMA,” he said.

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