Common traffic offences in Nigeria and their penalties


Posted by: Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Traffic rules are set to prevent road accidents and to keep everyone safe on the road. Check out the common traffic offences in Nigeria and their penalties!

1. Introduction

All Traffic rules around the world are specifically made to make life easier and safer for road users. Without law, there is always chaos. More often than not, there have been several reported cases of life claiming accidents on public roads everywhere on the planet. Without these rules, more havoc would be wrecked on the roads due to dangerous driving. The number of deaths and injuries associated with road accidents always drops significantly when drivers obey traffic rules. To ensure orderliness and shun reckless driving, the Nigerian government has highlighted some traffic-related offences and the penalties they attract. The fines vary depending on the gravity of the offence committed. In this article, we will discuss extensively the common traffic offences in Nigeria and their penalties. Read on!


Traffic rules and regulations are mainly put in place to prevent deadly road crashes

2. Why do we have traffic rules and regulations?

Like we said earlier, the sole purpose of having traffic rules is safety. Not having traffic signs, rules or regulations in a place will definitely be fatal to motorists and other roads. To mitigate such disasters associated with dangerous driving, here are some of the reasons why traffic rules and regulations are important all over the world.

i. Reduction of injuries and death associated with road accidents

One of the biggest reasons why we have traffic rules and regulations is to prevent common, avoidable auto crashes that claim lives and inflict life-threatening injuries on the victims. Understanding the basic principle of driving doesn't make one immune from these auto accidents. Following traffic rules might not totally eradicate road accidents, but it sure does reduce them to the barest minimum. 

ii. Free flow of traffic

The condition of the road doesn’t necessarily dictate the flow of traffic. In a state of road lawlessness, there tends to be disorderliness among road users which could lead to serious gridlock. When traffic laws and regulations are put in place, it controls the actions of all road users in accordance with efficient use of the road. 

2.1. Role of FRSC in Nigeria

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Nigeria plays a pivotal role in making sure road users obey traffic rules and regulations. The traffic agency was created in 1988 to reduce road accidents and to provide a safe driving environment for people in Nigeria. To simply put, the commission is charged with several responsibilities that directly affect the safety of lives and properties on the road. Some of the key roles of FRSC in Nigeria include the following:

  • To make and determine the requirement needed for applicants to get a driver’s license in Nigeria
  • To mitigate disasters associated with motor accidents
  • To help with the design and production of vehicle number plates
  • To clear out road obstructions, especially on the highways (e.g fallen trees, debris on the road, cars involved in accidents, etc.)
  • To provide highway codes and offer medical attention to victims of auto crashes through FREE roadside and mobile clinics
  • To work with other related bodies in ensuring safety of road users and prevention of accidents
  • To control the use of sirens, beacon lights and flashers on vehicles other than vehicles belonging to armed forces, ambulances, police, paramilitary organizations and fire service
  • To create and enforce speed limits for all roads and also to provide and educate people on the use of speed limiting devices
  • To regulate the use of mobile phones and other devices that could lead to accident
  • To enforce the use of seatbelts and other car safety features
  • To control the presence or operations of motorcycles on major highways

>>> Read also: Vehicle registration in Nigeria – what are the required documents?

2.2. Does Nigeria police have the right to search my car?

Whether members of the Nigeria Police Force have the right to search a vehicle or not has become one of the biggest conversations in the country. Over the years, there have been several reported and unreported clashes between policemen on stop-and-search duty and motorists who feel their rights have been infringed upon. The question is: Do they have the right to search your car?

Well, it has been revealed by security agencies that police officers are legally allowed to search a vehicle and occupants when they are placed on arrest or on a ground of suspicion. The police are also within the power to search your vehicle when you are stopped on the highway. Interestingly, the rule also states that it is within your right to decline such a search especially when you feel the whole process might implicate you. Police operatives are allowed to carry some physical test on you when they observe that you might be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Despite cases of harassment and extortion, it is important for these officers to reduce the rate of crime committed on the road by performing their duties and obligations without hindrance from members of the public. However, there is a clause to this rule. The officers who carry out these stop and search duty must be in police uniform and provide a valid means of identification


Police operatives are within powers to carry out stop and search duty on the road

3. Traffic offences in Nigeria and their penalties

Did you know you can be fined for driving with a worn-out tyre and shattered windscreen? As a driver in Nigeria, it is important you get yourself familiar with common traffic offences and the fines that come with them. Check out the below list of traffic offences and their penalties in Nigeria.

S/N  Traffic Offences in Nigeria  Fines (in Naira)
 1.  Dangerous Driving  ₦50,000
 2.  Medical Personnel or Rejection of Road Accident Victim  ₦50,000
 3.  Failure to Report Accident  ₦20,000
 4.  Operating a Vehicle with Forged Document  ₦20,000
 5.  Driver's License Violation  ₦10,000
 6.  Assaulting Marshal on Duty  ₦10,000
 7.  Overloading  ₦10,000
 8.  Driving a Commercial Vehicle without Passenger Manifest  ₦10,000
 9.  Attempt to Corrupt Marshal  ₦10,000
 10.  Route Violation  ₦5,000
 11.  Excessive Smoke Emission  ₦5,000
 12.  Driving Under Alcohol or Drug Infuence  ₦5,000
 13.  Mechanically Deficient Vehicle  ₦5,000
 14.  Failure to Cover Unstable Materials  ₦5,000
 15.  Unauthorized Removal or Tampering with Road Signs  ₦5,000
 16.  Use of Phone while Driving  ₦4,000
 17.  Vehicle Number Plate Violation  ₦3,000
 18.  Failure to Install Speed Limiting Device  ₦3,000
 19.  Wrongful Overtaking  ₦3,000
 20.  Construction Area Speed Violation  ₦3,000
 21.  Speed Limit Violation  ₦3,000
 22.  Vehicle License Violation  ₦3,000
 23.  Caution Sign Violation  ₦3,000
 24.  Driving without Specified Fire Extinguisher  ₦3,000
 25.  Road Obstruction  ₦3,000
 26.  Driving with Worn-out Tyre or without Spare Tyre  ₦3,000
 27.  Driving without or with Shattered Windscreen  ₦2,000
 28.  Driving without Seatbelt  ₦2,000
 29.  Obstructing Marshal on Duty  ₦2,000
 30.  Riding Motorcycle without a Crash Helmet  ₦2,000
 31.  Driving a Vehicle While Under 18 Years  ₦2,000
 32.  Light/Sign Violation  ₦2,000

3.1. Top 10 traffic offences in Lagos State and their penalties

Illegal use of the BRT Lanes is one of the many traffic offences peculiar to Lagos State. Understandably, Lagos is one of the most populated cities in Africa, which also includes the number of vehicles that use the road on a daily basis. This is why traffic rules are very much needed on local roads to put these reckless drivers in check. The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) is charged with the responsibility of enforcing Lagos traffic rules and regulations. Below are some of the top 10 traffic offences in Lagos State and their penalties. 


LASTMA officials have been charged with the power to enforce traffic rules and regulations in Lagos State

 S/N  Traffic Offenses in Lagos State Penalties 
 1.  Violation of Routes by Commercial Vehicle

 1st offender - ₦20,000

Subsequent offender - ₦30,000

Additional - Impound vehicle and counselling by LASDRI

 2.  Disobeying Traffic Control Personnel

 1st Offender - ₦20,000

Subsequent offender - ₦30,000

Additional - Impound vehicle and LASDRI enlightenment training

 3.  Parking on Yellow Line on a Public Highway/Illegal Parking

 1st Offender - ₦20,000

Subsequent offender - ₦30,000

additional - Impound vehicle and LASDRI training

 4.  Neglect of Traffic Direction

 Confiscation of the vehicle by the state

Addtiional - 6 months inprisonment/1 community service

 5.  Staying within the Yellow Junction Box (Offside Rule)

 1st offender - ₦20,000

Subsequent offender - ₦30,000

Additional - Impound vehicle and training by LASDRI

 6.  Failure to Give Way to Traffic on the Left at a Roundabout

 1st offender - ₦20,000

Subsequent offenders - ₦30,000

Additional - Impound vehicle and counselling by LASDRI

 7.  Smoking/Drinking Alcohol While Driving

 1st offender - ₦20,000

Subsequent offender - ₦30,000

Additional - 3 months of jail time/6 months of community service

 8.  Riding Motorcycle against Traffic/on the Kerb/Median or Road Setbacks

 1st offender - ₦50,000

Subsequent offender - ₦100,000

Additional - 3 months in prison/6 months of community service

 9.  Driving without Side Mirrors, Brake Lights, Rear Lights or Indicators

 1st offender - ₦20,000

Subsequent offender - ₦30,000

Additional - fix before release and counselling by LASDRI

 10  Wrong Overtaking of Other Vehicle

 1st offender - ₦20,000

Subsequent offender - ₦30,000

Additional - 3 years of jail time or both fine and imprisonment

Other traffic offences in Lagos State and their penalties

  • Exceeding the speed limit on Lagos roads would get you a fine of ₦100,000 or 2 years of jail time. 
  • Assaulting a traffic officer would attract ₦100,000 in fine or 6 months in prison. The driver will also be asked to pay compensation to the assaulted traffic officer.
  • Driving in an illegal direction or neglect of traffic direction is penalized by losing the vehicle to the state government. First offender will be also asked to serve a year in prison. Subsequent offenders will be given 3 years in prison and forfeiture of the vehicle to the state. 
  • Parking on the kerbs or walkways would get a ₦20,000 fine or a 3-month imprisonment. 
  • Failure to yield to right of way for pedestrian at a zebra crossing will attract ₦20,000 for 1st offender and ₦30,000 for subsequent offender. Additional punishment would include vehicle impound and LASDRI training.
  • Instalment of musical gadget on a motorycle gets ₦20,000 for first offender and ₦30,000 for subsequent offender with forfeiture of the gadget and counselling.
  • Tailgating an emergency is liable to a fine of ₦20,000 for 1st offender and ₦30,000 for subsequent offender. The offender may also be liable to 3 years in prison or both. 


Traffic management officials can penalize you for overloading in Nigeria

>>> See this: FRSC - 6 important vehicle documents drivers must have

3.2. Can I drive my car on BRT Lanes in Lagos?

Illegal use of the BRT lanes contravenes the Lagos State Transport Law, 2018. Motorists including private car owners are prohibited from plying BRT Corridors and driving against One Way lane. Any offender whether a motorist or a motorcyclist found flouting this rule would be made to face the full wrath of the law. The lane is specifically used by the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit System, popularly known as BRT. It is managed by LAMATA and operated by Primero Transport Services.


Use of BRT lanes by private vehicles is prohibited in Lagos State

4. Important documents and Car papers that every Nigerian driver should have

There are certain car documents in Nigeria that you should always have in your vehicle to avoid any form of delay or harassment from traffic officers and security operatives. More importantly, ensure that these documents or car papers are valid and authentic. These documents have been highlighted by the Federal Road Safety Corps. You can also visit their webiste on car papers renewal in Nigeria. Failure to have these documents in your vehicle while driving would incur heavy fines. These important documents and car papers include:

•        Valid driver’s license

•        Proof of Ownership

•        Certificate of Road Worthiness

•        Vehicle license

•        Insurance certificate

•        Learner’s permit


Nigerian motorists are required to always carry their valid driver's license with them while driving

5. Conclusion

Traffic laws are not made to make life difficult for motorists using public roads in the country. Instead, the rules are there to guard against dangerous driving and prevention of road accidents. All of the common traffic offences in Nigeria and their penalties are clearly stated to mitigate road disasters and ensure proper use of the road for smooth flow of traffic. Good citizens of every country around the world always follow traffic rules and regulations when driving on public roads.

>>> Visit Naijauto regularly to get useful tips and info about safe driving

>>> Get the best Foreign Used and Nigerian used cars at our cars for sale section

Oluwaseun Adeniji

Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Oluwaseun Adeniji is a passionate writer and a poet with special interest in writing about cars. He is a master degree holder in international conflict and management. He enjoys feeding the public with the latest auto gist and well researched car reviews. He is also a strong football lover. So, if Oluwaseun is not writing, expect him to be reading about sports.

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