Traffic infractions are notoriously high in Nigeria particularly major metropolis such as Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja where offenders are not easily arrested and even when arrested, penalty are either rare or miserly since traffic authorities hardly have practicable evidence to get offenders convicted.
That may soon be in the past. A one day seminar and practical demonstrations on how traffic infractions could be curbed was recently held in Lagos, home of Nigeria’s worst traffic infractions. Organized by Data Sciences Nigeria Limited in partnership with UK based StarTraq UK Limited and Tele-Traffic UK, the event was designed to enlighten stakeholders on how technology can be used to bring offenders to book.
“The purpose of this event is to introduce to the Nigerian market technologies that will curb traffic infractions. All over the world we get into traffic infractions, but the one thing we have not started doing here is to deploy technologies to capture these infractions, administer them and use this technology to capture those people who have to disobey traffic rules, and persecute them according to the laws of the land. You know there are laws on traffic,” said Alhaji Ladi Ogunneye, consultant at Data Sciences.
The event drew a large pool of traffic managers from within and outside Lagos State, where technologies that are used to tackle traffic infractions including stealth cameras were put on demonstration. Smart cameras capture and process road traffic infractions like speed limits, red light violations, seat belt violations, driving against traffic and turn & U-turn. Once in operation, recordings as evidence cannot be denied and will ostensibly put road users on their toes and force them to obey traffic laws. In the end also, the job of the traffic officer are made easier. But for this to be effective there is need to have database of citizens so that offenders can be easily traced.
Speaking at the seminar which has in attendance traffic officers from the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE) and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the Special Adviser to the Ogun State Governor on Transportation, Mr. Gbenga Opesanwo who doubled as the Chairman of the event warned that even though the use of IT in traffic management cannot be overemphasized, it will be a collateral damage for some states that are gradually embracing technology not to have a database of its citizens.
“Absence of database is still the bane of traffic management in the country. With database, accountability is ensured as traffic infractions recorded are trace to the offender. Emphasis must be placed on data control, otherwise we are planning to fail,” said Opesanwo.
Most of the things done in traffic management are manual, making the work of traffic management cumbersome. But with Tele-Traffic cameras enabled by StarTraq solutions that Data Sciences is planning to bring into the Nigerian market, traffic infractions may be easily checked. During an interactive session with journalists at the event, the Managing Director of Data Sciences, Barr. Aniekan Etiebet said when Nigeria embraces the solution, the rising traffic offences and general road indiscipline in the country will be reduced to it barest minimum. “All over the world, there are no places where crime has been completely wiped out. But I can assure Nigerians that StarTraq and Tele-Traffic has a track record of managing traffic positively in UK and some parts of the world, Nigeria cannot be an exception,” said Etiebet.
The StarTraq Dome software solution can be adapted to process almost any offence type. In the traffic enforcement arena, the Dome can be used to provide a single back office solution for the processing of road traffic violations. It can be integrated with all enforcement cameras types (digital or non-digital), it can process any road traffic offence type with video, image or paper evidence.
Even more importantly for the traffic management solution is the graphical workflow which allows for easy configuration in line with local legislation. It also has a full document management system to efficiently process an offence from start to finish. As Brian Carbarns, International Business Development Manager at StarTraq UK Limited puts it, StarTraq Dome, the traffic software technology that offers dynamic offence and management enforcement services manages offence processing to customer’s own specification. For example, offences are automatically processed through the client specific and flexible workflow, rules and permissions are set to reflect local legislation and practice while different rules can be set per location code. It also supports different languages and currencies, the three Nigerian major languages are embedded in it.