The arrest of Mary Ikoku by men of the Federal Road Safety Corps in December of 2019 generated a lot of controversy with the internet sent into an ending buzz and frenzy as a result. The offense ticket showed Mary Ikoku was charged for using the Google-owned navigation app Google Maps while driving an offense they officers said violated the law on the use of mobile phones while driving.
Now to the big question, is the use of mobile navigation app Google Maps illegal in Nigeria?. To give an appropriate answer to the question, we must first look closely at the traffic law that prohibits the use of mobile phones while driving.
Mobile phones are essential, but a misuse of this device while in traffic has resulted in countless road crashes that have been very expensive to the victims.
This traffic law was put in place to help tackle this issue with penalties attached to deter vehicle drivers from trying it. Naturally, everyone knows its an unsafe act to make use of a mobile phone while driving as it is a form of distraction, and the result is always unpleasant.
Only some weeks ago, a lady who was texting while driving crashed into the car ahead of hers, resulting in damage to no less than 5 cars in the process. Thus, the law prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving was enacted to prevent events like this one from occurring.
FRSC will not hesitate to book you or impound your car if you break traffic laws
>>> You can get all the juicy gist on Mary Ikoku arrested by FRSC for use of Google Maps in Abuja by clicking the link.
So what is FRSC's position on the use of Google Map in Nigeria
One could say that the arrest of Mary Ikoku is a consequence of FCT Corps commander Wobin Gora's statement which somehow gave the idea that the use of Google Maps is illegal. And it was likely on this premise that the field officers acted on when arresting Mary.
However, the Public Education Officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps Bisi Kazeem came out to clear the air on the issue with a statement posted on the organization's website. The statement read in part and I quote;
The attention of the Federal Road Safety Corps has been drawn to an online publication where the Sector Commander, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Corps Commander Wobin Ayuba Gora was quoted out of context on the use of google map app while driving,
The Corps wishes to state that the Sector Commander must have been misquoted and his statement outrightly misrepresented because the Federal Road Safety Corps as a technology-driven organization is not and has never stood against the use of google map by motorists.
With this statement, the position of the FRSC is made clear on the use of Google Maps, bringing to an end the whole saga. However, even as the organization is not against the use of google maps while driving, you may still find yourself on the wrong side of the law if your use of the navigation tool is a way deemed incorrect by a field officer.
The proper use of Google Maps
The Federal Road Safety Corps prides itself as a technology-driven organization which is not against the use of the google maps, however, a condition for the use of the navigation tool has to be followed. This condition was made known by the Corps Marshal of the FRSC Boboye Oyeyemi as shown below;
The use of google map while driving is allowed, but hand-held driving and usage are offenses associated with driving and anyone caught would face the law squarely. If you must use Google map while driving, you must get the car-holding phone devices which is both for your safety and for better usage of the device and the application
Thus, the condition for the use of the google maps when driving is very clear. If you own a car that does not offer the google maps as a preinstalled in-vehicle navigation system, then you must utilize a device holder for the mobile device that will display the google maps.
The stated condition is fair and practical, as it allows the driver to dedicate his full attention to driving with minimal distraction.
Handling your phone while driving is a traffic offense in Nigeria
Best Practice for the Use of Google Maps when embarking on a road trip
There are a few general steps and best practices you normally should follow if you must utilize the google maps for your road trip.
1. Plan your trip beforehand
This is generally the first thing you should do before embarking on any trip, as it allows you to make important decisions before even taking to the road.
Planning your trips also helps reduce or even eliminate anxiety which is very important for sound decision making while driving especially if its a long trip.
2. Set your trip details to the app
This is naturally the next step where you input your trip details to the app before setting off. If your car does not come with google maps preinstalled, then you will possibly have to utilize a mobile device.
Please make sure to follow FRSC instructions by having your device fastened properly to a holder. Also, make sure the device is placed in a position that allows you to keep your eyes on the road while still using the map for your navigation.
Avoid the temptation of holding onto the device while driving as this can land you in big trouble with the authorities and could even result in an accident due to distraction.
Always fasten your phone to a dashboard holder before beginning your trip
Setting your trip before taking to the road allows you to concentrate on your driving, effectively eliminating eventualities that might result from trying to set your trip to the app while in motion.
3. Always pull over if you have to reset your trip
If by any chance the app experiences a glitch along the trip, please pull over carefully to the side of the road and reset your trip. Do not try to reset your trip while in motion, you should pull over as it may not take more than a minute to complete this task.
The following video explains the issues surrounding the use of google maps and other traffic issues:
Obeying traffic rules and regulations
We hope our article above have help you find your answer for the question "Is the Use of Google Map Illegal in Nigeria", for more interesting articles like this, stay tuned with us on Naijauto.com!
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