Top 10 common traffic or driving penalties in Nigeria


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

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No driver can survive for long on the road without laws. See the most common traffic or driving penalties when you fall foul of the traffic laws.

Have you ever wondered why you were stopped by a traffic official, an FRSC official? Or if you are a citizen of Lagos State, Nigeria, a LASTMA officer, and surprisingly, you couldn't fathom or understand the reason for it? Well, you may have fallen foul of one of the 10 common traffic or driving penalties in Nigeria without knowing it.


Flouting traffic laws will surely lead to apprehension by officials

The need for traffic laws

Do not be bothered by the big grammar and terms used. It is due to the sorry fact that not all drivers know the road signs, traffic regulations, and kinds of offenses they can commit on the roads; neither do they have a clue about what penalties are in stock for them once they are caught in the act. Traffic offenses and penalties are created and established to ensure drivers, as well as car owners, give cognizance to and respect other road users as they also have rights to the roads.

They are designed to make sure safety is always a priority every time and for everyone. Though traffic laws exist, some stubborn drivers on Nigerian roads decide to flout them however they wish. And this shows a great disregard for the government agencies responsible for establishing them.

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Chaotic traffic situations demand tough driving laws

Who enforces traffic laws in Nigeria?

It is pertinent to note that the FRSC (Federal Road Safety Commission) is primarily responsible for enforcing these laws on Nigerian roads. Though in many states like Lagos, state traffic agencies such as LASTMA also serve in maintaining orderliness, their main role is mostly traffic management. The LASTMA officers have limited powers unlike the federal body, the FRSC.

The FRSC ensure they work hard in making sure all expressways in Nigeria are safe to travel, and they educate other road users and motorists when need be.  Above all, the FRSC punishes offenders with various, stipulated penalties and fines.


FRSC has the primary responsibility of policing the roads

Why the need for traffic fines and penalties?

These fines are not to make citizens suffer needlessly or in vain but to help in eradicating bad driving as well as traffic offenses through their equivalent penalties. However, the FRSC’s authority is stronger on federal roads than state roads as per the law because each state has her road agencies to monitor and supervise the state roads.

Why do drivers flout traffic laws?

Why exactly would a fairly sane driver disobey a law meant for our collective good? At times, this flouting comes in two ways:

  • Ignorance of the law

Some do it out of ignorance of the laws. Unfortunately, this will not hold up in court, so you’d serve yourself best by knowing all common traffic penalties and laws, and the fines they attract.

  • Disobedience to the law

While some actually don’t know the law, others break the same simply because they take the laws for granted. This is very dangerous as you should remember that you are risking lives, including your own, each time you break a law.

To make sure all these laws are obeyed and road-users protected, there are penalties attached to every law flouted; and the sole aim of doing this is to put all hands on deck to ensure erring drivers, as well as road users, are corrected.

In this article on, we will be taking a look at the top ten most common penalties and their associated driving offenses in Nigeria.


Obeying traffic laws is required of all drivers in Nigeria

1. Taking wrong routes / Not displaying Vehicle Route Number by commercial vehicles (CODE- RTV)

When commercial vehicles in Nigeria violate assigned routes or refuse to display their route or route number, they are liable to face some consequences if caught by government road agencies. The penalties for violating routes are:

  • 20,000 for a first-time offender.
  • 30,000 for a subsequent offender.
  • The Lagos State Drivers’ Institute (LASDRI) will counsel and enlighten offenders.
  • Impounding of the vehicle.

2. Neglecting Traffic Directions (CODE- RMV)

When road users neglect traffic directions and go against them, the penalty meted out is:

  • The vehicle is forfeited to the state.
  • Six months of imprisonment and one year of community service for the driver of the vehicle is unavoidable.

3. Smoking or Drinking while driving (CODE- DUI)

Many road users smoke when they drive. Amazingly, most drivers do not even know this is an offense. Drinking is a more commonly recognized offense. Once they are caught, they are liable to face these penalties:

  • 20,000 for a first-time offender.
  • 30,000 for a subsequent offender.
  • The driver faces three months of imprisonment and six months of community service.

4. Driving a vehicle without side mirrors, brake lights, rear lights, or indicators (CODE-LSV)

When a driver drives a vehicle without the essentialities like the side mirrors, brake lights, rear lights, and indicators to be used at nights or emergencies, it is considered a traffic offense and the penalties attached to it are:

  • 20,000 for a first-time offender.
  • 30,000 for a subsequent offender.
  • The defaulting essentials are to be fixed before the driver’s release.
  • LASDRI are to hold counseling and enlightenment for the offenders.

5. Wrongful vehicle Overtaking (CODE- WOV)

Wow! Did you even know you could overtake in the wrong way? You might need to find out the proper way of overtaking by either getting a good driving school in Nigeria or reading some of our driving tips articles here. When a driver unlawfully or wrongfully overtakes another vehicle, it's an offense and this is its penalty:

  • 50,000 for a first-time offender.
  • 100,000 for a subsequent offender.
  • To be imprisoned for three years or even pay both the fine and imprisonment.
  • Possibility of six months of community service.


There are too many laws it might seem sometimes, but all are necessary

6. When a driver exceeds the speed limit (SLV)

There is a prescribed speed limit for all road users, so, once a driver exceeds the prescribed limit, find below the penalties for it:

  • Payment of 100,000.
  • Imprisonment of 2 years or even both the fine and imprisonment in some cases is bound to happen.

>>> You might also like to read: 6 Funny tricks Nigerians use to escape Nigerian Police Interrogation

7. Physical assault on a traffic officer (CODE-AMD)

When a traffic officer is physically assaulted, such an offender is to face these penalties:

  • Payment of 100,000 or six -months imprisonment.
  • He is to pay compensation to the assaulted officer.

8. Driving/ Parking on the walkway or the curb

The walkway is meant for pedestrians, not the vehicle users. When such an offender is caught, the penalties are:

For driving:

  • 50,000 fine to be paid.
  • Vehicle to be impounded and a three-months imprisonment term.

For parking:

  • 20,000.
  • Vehicle to be impounded and a three-months imprisonment term.

9. Commercial Vehicle Parking unlawfully or stopping to pick passengers.

When a driver stops or parks in a restricted area to pick up a passenger, these are the penalties.


  • 50,000.
  • LASDRI driving training or three-months imprisonment term.


  • 50,000.

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10. Reading or texting messages/ Making and receiving calls while driving (CODE-UPD)

The most common offense amongst road users, especially drivers in Nigeria is the receiving of calls and texting of messages when driving. The penalty for this is:

  • 20,000 for a first-time offender and 30,000 for subsequent offenders.
  • Three to six months of community service.

How to pay your traffic fines

Finally, after the offender has been caught, he or she is expected to pay his/her fines. According to research on FRSC, here is the procedure:

You are to pay the stipulated fine to the Federal Government Revenue Account in any commercial bank or you can pay directly online using Remita.

Payment via Remita

Remita can be easily accessed through

Select the option “Pay FG Agency; under MDAs, select FRSC, then select “Offences” to pay for fines. You are required to complete and fill other mandatory fields where applicable. After this process is completed, you are to bring the teller or printout to the branch of the FRSC office where the booking was originally made.

Driving in Nigeria and traffic rules


In fact, even listening to the wrong kind of music while driving can put you in trouble. The simple and easy way to avoid all these of course is to stay law-abiding and drive according to the laid down rules. That way you avoid contravening these 10 and even more common traffic or driving penalties in Nigeria.

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Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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