Lagos State Government has threatened to prosecute and jail any motorist found to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, saying that not less than 441 drivers have so far tested positive to marijuana and cocaine usage in the screening recently conducted by the state government.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris who threatened sanctions against erring motorists at a news briefing yesterday, said the state government was not relenting in educating drivers on dangers associated with consumption of alcohol while on the wheels.
According to him, “So far we have screened 2002 drivers with the following results obtained; 781 were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol; 601 were found to be hypertensive; 441 were positive to psychotropic drugs, especially cocaine and marijuana; 940 were screened for visual impairment and 13 percent had to be given special glasses”.
The commissioner said given the grave consequences of driving under such influences, the state government had no option than to invoke section 21, subsection 1 of the state traffic law which prescribes a conviction fine of N100,000 or two years imprisonment or both on the offenders.
Idris lamented that road accidents have become one major cause of deaths in the country, noting that the state government cannot achieve the desired health indices if it ignores the menace of deaths by road accidents.
He said,” Alcohol and substance abuse have been documented as a cause of road traffic accidents and several studies have shown that an intoxicated driver is a danger to himself , his passengers and other road users”.
Idris said a major breakthrough was recently recorded in the sensitisation campaigns in the motor parks against irresponsible driving with a Memorandum of Understanding signed with Guinness Nigeria Plc .
He added that the partnership by both parties is geared towards changing people’s attitude to alcohol to reduce the menace of harmful consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Also speaking, the state commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa lamented the number of accidents recorded mostly over the weekend on Lagos roads caused by excessive drinking by motorists.
He explained that government is focusing on motor parks to make the awareness campaign effective because of its involvement in mass transportation of people to various destinations within and outside the state.
Opeifa explained that the new Road Traffic Law was meant to return sanity and ensure discipline among the road users.