In all countries of the world, be it developed, developing or underdeveloped, driving goes beyond just putting cars on the road. No country allows one drive without being issued a driving licence (which signifies the approval of a driver’s ability to drive on the road). It is expected that the holder of a driving licence would have undergone a series of training, such as proper driving skills, acquired basic knowledge of road signs, adequate knowledge of traffic rules and regulations, understanding of owner manual requirements and proper eye test among others.
According to Wikipedia, a driving licence is an official document permitting a specific individual to operate one or more types of motorised vehicles, such as a motorcycle, car, truck, or bus on a public road. In some countries, the driving licence goes beyond the above, as countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have no national identification cards. As many people have driving licences, they are often accepted as de facto proof of identity.
Driving licence is a legal document that serves as a proof that an individual is allowed to drive motorised vehicles on a public road, and helps to reduce the burden of accidents and injuries, because it ensures that you have been trained well to drive in the public area.
Like every other country, Nigeria is not different in the above premise. As the relevant traffic regulation, the National Road Traffic Regulations 2012, Regulations 45(2), 52(1) and (2), 50(1) and 45(3)(e), provide that an applicant for the driving licence should be 18 years and above, be physically and mentally fit, pass a driving test and pay the prescribed fee.
However, the law also makes special provision for age limit of applicants for commercial or professional driving licence (not below the age of 26-Regulation 45(4)). After this, such an applicant will then qualify for a licence valid for three years. However, in the face of the spate of road crashes in the country and the need to conceptualise new ideas in keeping within global best practice, the corps, through the driving school standardisation programme made it mandatory for fresh applicants to attend a certified and approved driving school.
Specifically, the National Road Traffic Regulations 2004 mandates all learner drivers to attend a certified and approved driving school as a prerequisite to obtaining a fresh driving licence.
In aligning with this, the Lagos State Motor Vehicle Administration Agency went a step further to break the federal monopoly to make issuance and collection of driving licence easier and easily accessible to the motoring public in state by creating a platform with the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Vehicle Inspection Service.
The tripartite arrangement works in such a way that the MVAA is the first and last point of call for all new applicants and renewals. Applicants attend training at any accredited driving school; the driving school presents training records to the MVAA where applicants will fill the driving licence application/LASG P1 form. Applicants make payment for three years or for five years at any designated bank.
The MVAA confirms payment and refers applicant to the Vehicle Inspection Service for vision and driving test. Physical photo capture and biometrics are then done at any Federal Road Safety Corps office. Driving licence can be obtained in any of the 98 MVAA stations located across the five divisions of Lagos State in collaboration with FRSC.
For a state like Lagos with such a high vehicular movement, innovations keep coming up to overcome the daunting challenges. Finally, cooperation of citizens is expected in order to have a seamless process in all that we do. Citizens are advised to walk into any of the MVAA stations closest to them.
Mrs. Ibironke Famakinwa, Public Affairs Department, Lagos State Motor Vehicle Administration Agency