Friday, October 13, 2006

Retro Reflective Sticker Craze

In Nigeria, pasting of a retro reflective sticker at the back of your car, is the new craze going on now, and this stickers came in two form, either it is original or a fake.
El-Elyon Limited, producer of the original argued that it can reflects from a distance of 300 metres and lasts for a minimum of five years. They insisted that one can easily identified a fake ones because it breaks immediately when you use your finger on the red portion, while it is more shining than the fake ones. Motorists are advised and encouraged to go for the original retro-reflective sticker, as it help during rainy season and in a pollution atmosphere.
That is Nigeria for you, where the different between the rich and the poor is always a major necessity in the scheme of things. An original stickers go for as much as N1,500 while one can get the fake ones for N500. Now an unsuspecting motorists can pay for the fake ones with the amount of original if they are not careful enough.
The truth is every vehicle already comes with reflective points on its rear lights, so I dont see the idea behind the sticker anyway, but the public are not grumbling, so it seems, or nobody wants to be heard. ever pause to ponder that, since nobody complain but instead comply generally with this order, it will be a matter of time for another order to perhaps ask the motorists to start painting our vehicle in a particular colour to either differentiate the rich from the poor or better still, to reflect our categories of vehicle.


OMODUDU said...

Pictures please...

Queen said...

My brother, that is how we see it. Funny enough this rule is made mandatory in Abuja. It was said if you dont have that sticker or you have the fake one that you will be stopped and made to pay a fine and the fake one will be yanked off the ass of your ride.

These peeps are crazy.
na so dem de take govern country.
Na so so money dem sabi chop.
I nor blame their black asses

Anonymous said...

This article from Guardian newspaper throw more light on this topic. please read along.

Those reflective car stickers
By Bode Osunkoya

WITH the current attempt to enforce the use of temporary reflective stickers on vehicles in Nigeria, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is either carrying out an unpardonable scam on Nigerians, or, if actually sincerely motivated, is demonstrating a very dangerous level of ignorance and lack of intellectual and interpretative capacity.

Apparently, the enabling law behind the "enforcement" of the use of reflective stickers is Section 75 of the National Road Traffic Regulations 2004, published in the Official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on September 21, 2004. Section 75 states that "A motor vehicle other than a two-wheeled motor cycle without a side car shall be equipped with at least two red reflex reflectors other than the triangular form". It also goes on to prescribe the minimum distances for attaching the reflectors on a vehicle, along with the minimum 150 metres distances from which such reflectors must be visible.

Further research by this writer revealed some interesting facts: Firstly, reflex reflectors are the plastic reflective surfaces already inserted in the rear lights of vehicles during their manufacture. Those are the surfaces that reflect when light is shone on a vehicle ahead which does, or does not, have its lights on. (This stipulation is meant to ensure that vehicles remain clearly visible from a distance even in poor light conditions).

Secondly, Part 393.26 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA- of the United States of America) stipulates requirements similar to our own Section 75, and even goes further to describe the reflectors as permanent reflectors. The FMCSA regulation actually prescribes conditions for the temporary use of reflective surfaces (the stickers at the centre of controversy in Nigeria) such as when attaching items longer than the actual length of a vehicle (projecting loads) and "vehicles transported in a driveaway-towaway operation". These are the main purposes for which the reflective stickers being forced down the collective throat of Nigerians were made; not for permanent use.

Additionally, the use of white reflectors at the rear of vehicles is actually explicitly or implicitly discouraged (as implied by the specific mention of the colour red alone in Section 75 of the National Road Traffic Regulations). White light at the rear of a vehicle is limited to the Reversing Light, which aids the driver in seeing properly when reversing in poor light conditions. Further research shows that from December 25, 1965 in the US, and dates both before and after in other vehicle manufacturing countries, vehicle rear lights have been manufactured to conform to, and comply with, the laws and regulations of nations concerning reflectors, among the myriad other safety requirements in respect of vehicles.

The obvious conclusion of the foregoing is that there is neither any enabling law behind the FRSC's enforcement of the use of reflective stickers, nor does such enforcement have any logical or altruistic basis. The enforcement is therefore illegal in absolute terms. The questions the foregoing attract are many. However, only some will be asked by this writer. Where in Nigeria's National Road Traffic Regulations is it explicitly or implicitly stipulated that temporary reflective stickers must be used by all vehicles?

By God's grace, a lot of us have travelled to majority of the developed countries of the world and have not seen temporary stickers applied to vehicles as a matter of compliance to any law. Why then the sudden aggressive enforcement and fining in Nigeria? Can the FRSC, with its past and present performance record, claim to want to cultivate a traffic standard higher than that of any other country in the developing and developed world, perhaps to compensate for the bad state of our roads, and general ignorance of the Highway Code? What is missing in vehicles imported into Nigeria that the FRSC seeks to ameliorate?

Anyone curious enough should carry out a simple experiment by shining a light source, from about 30 metres, on a reflective sticker which is close to the rear light of a vehicle, which is unbroken and in good condition. It should not be surprising that the reflector of the vehicle itself shines brighter than that of FRSC's stickers! Furthermore, anyone curious enough should monitor the reflective capacity of the stickers after about 3-4 weeks of use (and consequent washing). These stickers actually begin to fade, which is to be expected because they were meant to be for temporary use, except for the unfathomable wisdom of Nigeria's FRSC!

This writer appreciates that reflective stickers do have their important uses, especially in Nigeria where a significant number of vehicles do not even have any form of rear lights to speak about. These are the kind of vehicles a sincere, honest and serious FRSC should be monitoring. Can the Corps Marshall please explain to Nigerians why there has been no intensive (or even sporadic) enlightenment campaign in respect of the use of stickers. The campaign for the use of seat-belts was quite good, and countless lives have been saved by the use of the belts since then. Why the difference in strategy now? Or could it be that the reflective sticker issue is one best effected in metaphorical darkness? One wishes our over-worked EFCC could investigate the source of these stickers and the ultimate beneficiaries.

On a more serious note, it is obvious that the present mode of enforcement of the use of reflective stickers is of no real significance, safety-wise. It goes against the tenets of natural law and justice. The Corps Marshall of the FRSC should immediately rescind this legally baseless harassment of Nigerians, with apologies, and redirect the Corps towards the objective for which they were established in the first place.

* Osunkoya, a Chartered Accountant, lives in Lagos.

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