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Stick to the rules of the road: No phoning or texting when driving

If you use your mobile phone while driving, you are not only putting your own life in danger but also the lives of passengers, other drivers and pedestrians.

And, if caught, prepare to be punished – you could face time in jail, receive a fine and your car might be seized until road safety officers are certain you know just how dangerous this habit is.

Superintendent Ahmadu Muhammad, the public relations officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Borno State, said using a mobile phone while driving was unacceptable and unpardonable.

The use of phones was widely considered dangerous because making and receiving calls while driving was a significant distraction and increased the risk of crashing and causing harm to other road users, he said.

Text messaging while driving was especially dangerous because people focused on their phones instead of what was happening on the road ahead.

The FRSC said even the use of wireless or hands-free sets was not allowed and were not exempted from the “No Use of Phone while Driving Law”.

In a Facebook post, the FRSC said that making or receiving phone calls while driving vehicles was an offence. Punishment included a fine of 4,000 naira and/or imprisonment for six months. It said the law also did not allow the use of hands-free sets, unlike in some other countries.

The FRSC said the use of hands-free devices and headphones did not reduce the dangers of distracted driving, which on its own was a traffic offence. Drivers could become distracted by the conversation even when their eyes were on the road.

The agency said numerous deaths and accidents had resulted on Nigerian roads as a result of distracted driving, many of which could have been prevented if drivers had stuck to the rules.

Yarima Bukar, a tricycle driver, told RNI reporter Nana Hadiza Mustapha that answering a mobile call while driving was unprofessional and had been a major cause of accidents on numerous occasions.

He said it had become a trend among young people to talk on the phone while driving. “They do not seem to realise how dangerous it is,” he said.

As a driver for many decades, Bukar said he refused to take or make calls while on the road. “I don’t answer or make calls while driving because I know how dangerous it can be,” he said.

Abba, who lives in Maiduguri, said he was taught the dangers of using a phone in a vehicle when he was learning to drive a few years ago.

He said the FRSC had taught him the rules of the road before the agency had granted him a licence to drive.

“All drivers should avoid using their phones while driving because it could result in a serious accident that might claim lives,” he said. “If it is an emergency, drivers should stop at the side of the road and answer their calls or reply to messages. If it is not an emergency, drivers should exercise patience until they reach their destination before attending to calls and messages.”

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