Owners of overloaded heavy-duty vehicles that ply federal highways will start paying fines ranging from N1m to N10m, the Federal Government has announced.
It stated this in an official gazette dated February 6, 2018, entitled: ‘Federal Highways (Control of Dimensions, Weights and Axle Load of Heavy Duty Goods Transport Vehicles) Regulations, 2018’.
The gazette, which was put together by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and obtained in Abuja on Monday, outlined several regulations to be enforced in the roads transport sector across the country.
The FMPWH stated that the objective of the regulations was to set standards and establish procedures for the control of dimensions, weight and axle load of heavy duty goods transport vehicles plying federal highways and to impose sanctions for non-compliance with those standards.
For instance, one of the regulations states that a vehicle operator who violates the dimension standards resulting wholly from the vehicle load is liable to a fine of N10m payable at the temporary area or fixed control post.
Another states that a vehicle operator who overloads a vehicle beyond the regulated total laden weight of the vehicle or assembly of vehicles on a federal highways (after five percent allowance on total laden weight for margin of error has been taken account of) commits an offence and is liable to a fine of N10m payable at the temporary area or fixed control post.
“A vehicle operator who fails to comply with the standards relating to the weight or size for the transportation of hydrocarbons, explosives and other dangerous goods, commits an offense and is liable to a fine of N10m,” another regulation in the gazette, which was officially made public in Abuja on Monday, stated.
Speaking on why it was important to have rules against overloading of heavy-duty vehicles, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated that compliance with the regulations would not only increase the lifespan of the roads but would open a massive door of opportunities in the sector.
Fashola noted that treaty obligations now existed within the West African sub-region that regulated the amount of load any goods’ vehicle could put on an axle and by extension on the road in order to do business within ECOWAS and beyond.
He said, “I must thank you, Mr. President, for finally signing the instruments of ratification as soon as it was brought to his attention after many years of delay prior to his tenure. Our compliance with these regulations will open a massive door of opportunity and prosperity of cross-border trade to Nigerians engaged in the transport business.
“All over the world, one common thread of prosperous societies is their level of compliance with laws and regulations. In those societies, you will see trucks carrying specified tonnage of cargo, because it protects the road and allows for it to be used again and again.”
He added, “Therefore, while the temptation to overload and carry more with one truck, against regulation and good practice may be appealing, it is ultimately a barrier to prosperity. Such practices may provide cheap and perhaps corrupt riches and income, but they do more damage to the roads from which the cheap income is made.
“Our ministry is convinced that voluntary compliance by stakeholders takes us further and nearer to the prosperity that is beckoning and this is why we convened our meeting before the process of enforcement commences.”