Rein In Drunk Bus Drivers


It has been a well known fact that commuter bus drivers drive under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and other illicit substances. But not many knew that substance abuse by these drivers had assumed such a monumental scale as revealed recently after the state government administered breathalyzers on 2,002 of the drivers. The result was quite startling. 781 of the bus drivers were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol, while 441 tested positive to psychotropic drugs, especially cocaine.

In other words, more than 50 percent of them tested positive to substance abuse. These bus drivers are potential killers behind the wheels and the reckless manner in which they drive gives them away as such.

But if these drivers must be reined in, the state government and its relevant agencies must enforce the law regarding driving under the influence of drugs. The none enforcement of Section 21 (1) of the state traffic law which prescribes a fine of N100,000 or two-year imprisonment or both upon conviction, has bolstered the bus drivers to continue driving recklessly, flouting traffic rules and regulations and endangering the lives of other road users.

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These drivers don’t have to search far before they get the illicit substances they abuse while behind the wheels. Substances such as alcohol mixed with local herbs, marijuana, cocaine and other psychotropic drugs are sold openly at motor parks and major bus stops. As long as the sellers of these illicit drugs and alcohol operate within motor parks and their precincts, bus drivers will patronise them to the detriment of their passengers and other road users.

The state Ministry of Transportation and the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, must begin a massive sensitisation to wean these drivers from indulging in this potentially dangerous habit of abusing illicit substances before getting behind the wheels. Sellers of these substances should be sent packing from the motor parks and constant use of breathalyzers to test the bus drivers randomly would go a long way in curbing this habit.

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