The death of famous musician, Dagrin following a head-on collision with a stationary vehicle sometime at Idi Oro, Mushin, Lagos is perhaps one of the memorable recollections of the dangers of abandoned vehicles on the road.
Dagarin until his death was a rising music star probably destined for greater heights in his calling.
His demise and subsequent eclipse from the stage is undoubtedly one of the deadly consequences of having stationary or abandoned vehicles on the highway.
Dagrin’s case was not an isolated incident. Countless persons have run into such vehicles left on the roads in Lagos State by their owners for one reason or the other.
The vehicles are either left on the road on account of breakdown, abandoned by thieves or left carelessly by their owners or drivers. In some cases, as in the case of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, tankers and trailers have constituted themselves into a nuisance that apparently defied the best intentions of the state government.
It is believed that if the authorities had been alive to their responsibilities in removing such abandoned vehicles that Dagarin and many others who lost their lives or limbs on account of such abandoned vehicles would have avoided such calamities.
‘’Broken-down trucks are allowed to stay on the road; sometimes for one or two weeks without caution signs to other road users. These broken down vehicles cause traffic gridlock without the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC or Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, and police personnel caring to tow them away,” Mr Alade Ojo, a motorist lamented.
Now, in a determined effort to reverse that trend, the Lagos State Transport and Management Authority , LASTMA last week launched 23 tow vehicles of various capacities to further ensure free flow of traffic as well as eliminate possible accident as a result of broken down vehicle or indiscriminate parking on the road.
Speaking to Vanguard, the Deputy Comptroller of LASTMA, Mr. Philip Ogunlade said the tow vehicles would assist the agency to improve service delivery, ensure free flow of traffic, removal of broken down vehicles from the roads and enhance general implementation of traffic laws.
Ogunlade said the Lagos State Government, through LASTMA, has also embarked on various reforms to reposition and re-engineer the agency for better service performance.
According to him, LASTMA has gone through systematic reforms and taken giant steps that will improve its human and institutional capacity to ensure accident-free and unimpeded flow of traffic in Lagos State.
He explained, “This new height was possible because the state government at various times and opportunity has demonstrated confidence, support and trust in the Agency to function efficiently and effectively in line with the world best standard practices. It is in furtherance of this, that the immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Babatunde Fashola supported the agency to rejuvenate the medium and high capacity tow vehicles that have been incapacitated for years in order to boost the operational capacity of LASTMA.”
In addition, Ogunlade said the agency has consistently embarked upon human capacity building, and over the years, with scores of LASTMA personnel that have undergone local and overseas training in order to improve traffic management efficiency and service delivery. “This is coupled with other trainings on good conduct; interpersonal relationships, quick response to road safety and emergency and how to operate within the ambit of the law. “
He added that the combination of training was responsible for the existing cordial relationship between the agency, stakeholders and the motoring public. Such public support and goodwill in the course of duty performance is responsible for the increase in motorists voluntarily complying with the traffic laws in Lagos State.
Ogunlade said further that as part of the ongoing revolution at the Agency, various departments have been reorganized, repackaged, upgraded and equipped with the state- of- the- art modern facilities to perform efficiently as expected of modern day traffic management institution.
He stressed that at the same time, the serenity that pervades working environment across the state is conducive to boost officers’ morale.
The agency and state government have placed a premium on traffic officers’ welfare, safety and security through the provision of insurance and welfare packages and annual award programme in appreciation of dedicated staff,” he stated.
Ogunlade while explaining that the measure is to further maintain discipline among officers and ensure that they operate within relevant laws and operational guidelines added that hundreds of officers have been disciplined with many dismissed for various acts that were at variance with the Lagos state civil service rules and regulations.