“FRSC Officer Arrested Me, Impounded My Car for Using Google Maps”: Legal Expert Intervenes

“FRSC Officer Arrested Me, Impounded My Car for Using Google Maps”: Legal Expert Intervenes

  • FRSC officers arrested a middle-aged man (who wishes to remain anonymous) for using Google Maps on his phone to get directions while driving
  • The man who was on his way to visit an ailing friend in the hospital was made to drive down to the FRSC office to pay a fine of N4,000 before he and his impounded car were released
  • Okanlawon Gaffar, a respected legal practitioner, explains whether or not it’s a traffic offence to use Google Maps on a phone while driving

Ikeja, Lagos - A middle-aged man who does not want his identity disclosed shared his experience with some FRSC officers who arrested him for using Google Maps on his phone to get directions while driving.

FRSC/Driving with Google Maps
FRSC officer arrested a man in Lagos for using Google Maps while driving. Photo credits: X/@king_dems1, Gettyimages
Source: UGC
"Last week, I decided to visit a long-time friend who underwent surgery at a hospital on Lagos Island. I had never been to the hospital before. So, I had to rely on Google Maps on my phone to get the location.

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"As I checked for the next turn to take around Obalende, some FRSC officers cornered me, directing me to park. I obeyed them with confidence that I had not broken any law.
"I was, however, dumbfounded when they said they would arrest me and impound my car. What is my offence? I asked them.

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“You are under arrest for driving with the aid of Google Maps on your mobile phone,” one of the officers told me.
"What? I asked in disbelief.
“It is a serious traffic offence,” another officer replied.
"The officers messed up my day as they made me drive to their office and pay a fine of N4,000 before letting me go. I had to go back home after the ordeal without visiting my ailing friend again.

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"I felt extorted and cheated and want to know if it’s truly a traffic offence to use Google Maps on the phone while driving."

Legal expert Okanlawon Gaffar intervenes

Okanlawon Gaffar is a legal luminary whose interests span law and technology, international trade and investment, energy law, corporate governance, maritime, etc.

Generally, it's a crime to use the phone while driving.

Section 166 (1) of the National Road Traffic Regulations 2012, which addressed the use of communication devices while driving, states:

“No driver of a vehicle shall, while the vehicle is in motion, receive or make a telephone call in any form.”

The issue of using Google Maps while driving and the involvement of the FRSC officers is an act of executing the already existing regulations and regulations.

Though using Google Maps is more useful to the driver, it's an act of preventing the high level of concentration that's required of a driver on the highway.

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Of course, the act is an offence under the law. Anyone caught will be liable and punishable for a period of six months in prison or a fine (of N4,000).

Expert explains how to safely use Google Maps while driving

Using Google Maps while driving, especially in Lagos, is important due to the city's notorious traffic congestion and complex road network.

Google Maps provides real-time traffic updates, alternative routes, and estimated arrival times, enabling drivers to navigate efficiently through congested areas and avoid delays.

Moreover, in a city where road signage can be inadequate or confusing, Google Maps offers clear turn-by-turn directions, ensuring drivers stay on the right path.

Boboye Oyeyemi, a traffic management expert and former Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of Federal Road Safety Corps (Nigeria), explained how drivers could safely use Google Maps on their phones while driving and avoid arrest.

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The use of Google Maps while driving is allowed, but hand-held driving and usage are offences associated with driving, and anyone caught would face the law squarely.

If you must use Google Maps while driving, you must get a car-holding phone device, which is both for your safety and for better usage of the device and the application.

FRSC officer explains VIO duties

In another report, a senior FRSC officer known as Ibrahim differentiated between the duties of corp personnel and that of vehicle inspection office (VIO) personnel.

In a viral video that surfaced on social media recently, Ibrahim listed the offences that do not fall under a VIO personnel's jurisdiction while urging motorists to know their rights.

Disclaimer: Advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers' decisions about solving marital problems. Readers should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any decision.

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Source: Legit.ng

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