An average of 500 motorists use phones while driving around in Lagos, investigation has shown. In spite of the various laws forbidding the use of mobile phones while behind the wheels, it is commonplace to see residents with phones glued to their ears while driving and while at public places such as petrol stations.
A week-long investigation revealed that an average of 500 motorists flout traffic rules daily by using their mobile phones while driving. Several others were also found texting or reading SMSs while driving.
A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr. Marvelous Akpoyibo, while speaking with The Point on the issue, said, “It is alarming to discover that less than 26 per cent of motorists ‘never’ use their mobile phones while driving, bearing in mind that distracted driving is among the top causes of accidents, injuries and death on our roads, most especially on the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway. Indeed, the use of mobile phones behind the wheels is one of the major sources of distraction.”
It was gathered that 22-29 yearolds were the most vulnerable in using mobile phones while driving. The majority of offenders, who broke the traffic rules, were found to be residents of Agege and closely followed by those of Ajegunle and Ajangbadi.
Only a negligent few that could be found among the elites have the best driving habits, as they almost never used their devices while on the road. These category of people were found at Ikoyi, Victoria Garden City and some parts of Magodo.
older drivers were most likely to respond to incoming calls, while younger drivers took the lead in outgoing calls and messages
Our investigation also revealed that about 76 per cent of drivers use their phones for incoming calls, 40 per cent used their mobile devices for outgoing calls; 21 per cent for incoming messages such as WhatsApp, and 16 per cent of motorists used it for outgoing messages.
Akpoyibo further said that those living in big cities, most especially in Lagos, needed to be re-orientated.
“To improve the situation, Lagos residents need ongoing education efforts, the creation and promotion of safe driving mobile phone applications (including an auto mute function) and a strict enforcement of the current rules and regulations with regards to the ban of mobile phones while driving. Both the Police and the Federal Road Safety Corps need to pay more attention to the driving habit of motorists. The law must be enforced to the letters,” he said.
On the spot assessment of the situation at various points in the state revealed further that older drivers were most likely to respond to incoming calls, while younger drivers took the lead in outgoing calls and messages.
To the former Zonal Commander, Zone 7 of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Jonas Agwu, hard times await motorists caught in the act of using their mobile devices while on the wheels.
He said road safety officials have been instructed to go tough on the violators of such traffic rule, adding, “When driving, put your mobile phone in silence and put it away. No call or message can be more important than your own safety, the safety of your passengers and the safety of other road users around you.”
The Point also noted that about less than ten people daily use their hands-free for more than half of their time on the road, while an average of 280 motorists used their cars’ built-in hands-free, just as 280 persons made use of cable hands-free and 200 used portable Bluetooth devices.
Although few cars plying Lagos roads have built-in hands-free, 70 per cent of respondents said they actually made use of it. The use of hands-free is more popular with drivers within the age bracket of 40 years.