Vehicle inspection service (vis) and road safety
The prosperity of any vibrant economy is largely dependent on the efficiency of public transportation. The ease of movement of human capital, goods and services from production point to the distribution, as well as utility destination is determined by the efficiency of transportation.
In the instance where goods and services suffer setbacks in the process of being commuted to the expected destination of their use, commercial activities are bound to be grounded and collapse in the long run. As traffic and transportation are important to farmers, so it is for the construction industry, production industry, communication industry and sundry services who are always pressed for time to get services and products delivered to their destinations.
In all these, it is interesting to note that where there is no law, order and regularization of standard, conflicting interests will continue to frustrate the process of efficiency of traffic and transportation.
Across the world, Vehicles Inspection Services (VIS) has been playing a major role in ensuring the necessity of standard requirements are met by motorists before they could access the roads. They are saddled with the responsibility to ensure even human capital that moves the vehicles are adequately equipped with the needed capacities and training before certification.
In Nigeria, the Vehicle Inspection Office was inherited from the colonial government and domesticated in the 1963 Republican Constitution under the defunct Ministry of Works and Transport in the then three regions. The functions include, among others, issuance of motor vehicle license, issuance of roadworthiness certificate (after vehicles must have been thoroughly examined and declared fit to move on roads), patrol and enforcement of traffic regulations, impounding and placing of ‘Off The Road’ stickers on vehicles identified as a threat to safety on the highway.
Their performance in discharging their duties was enhanced by workshop and testing ground provided to conduct a comprehensive check on vehicles, before issuing certificates of roadworthiness as well as test drivers competence before being recommended for the issuance of drivers’ license, depending on the purpose for the drivers’ license.
In contemporary time, it is part of the Vehicle Inspection Officer’s mandate to team up with fleet owners and operators in ensuring that their fleet is not denied adequate maintenance to eliminate carnage or avoidable break down on highways, which could hinder traffic flow while engaging in periodic training or enlightenment for their employees.
Consequently, recalcitrant drivers, who fail to comply were either fined, had their vehicles impounded or charged to the court for prosecution, depending on the gravity of their offence. Hence, vehicle inspection operation service ensures that a safe and clean transport system operates in the State for maximum efficiency of transportation and traffic system.
Lagos, being the commercial capital of the federation keeps accommodating vehicular traffic in their droves from various parts of the West African coast. The existing law of the State prescribes a standard that such mobility must meet to move around, otherwise, it could be considered a threat to traffic flow, life and environmental safety. To this end, the VIS, before certification, in accordance to existing law requires the efficiency of the necessary components of vehicles which include good tyres, functional braking system, horns, light, indicators, windscreens, side mirrors, steering mechanism, functional wipers, emission system into a state of automobiles’ body to guarantee the safety of lives and eschew needless breakdown that often lead to traffic gridlock on the highway.
It is pertinent to observe that in-spite of the efforts of the VIS to ensure strict adherence to laws and rules governing safety on the roads, some motorists with faulty vehicles creep into the city in the dead of night to discharge goods and services. Sadly, many of such often breakdown on the highway, thereby compounding free vehicular flow. This is one of the consequences of poor maintenance of vehicles which VIS is out to checkmate on roads.
As earlier stated, a thriving and vibrant economy cannot be achieved without an efficient transport system. It is in view of this that the State government approved the Lagos Computerized Vehicle Inspection Service (LACVIC) to provide world-class automotive testing centres and to ensure that vehicles plying Lagos roads meet the minimum standard of safety.
Established in 2016, LACVIC undertakes vehicle testing technologies and computerized vehicle inspection services. It is a special purpose vehicle set up by the government and other stakeholders to partner with the VIS to ensure the safety of the motoring public. It has testing centres in all the five divisions of the State where efficiency tests are conducted on vehicles before being certified for operation.
In order to further enhance its operation, the VIS headquarters at Ojodu was recently commissioned by Governor Sanwo-Olu. The ultra-modern complex is a one-stop centre for securing and validation of motor vehicles’ documents with basic infrastructure for the comprehensive vehicular check. It also has provision for Automatic Number Plate Identification, which has made monitoring of vehicles easy with the aid of technology. Interestingly vehicles with fake and expired documents are now detected with ease, while fines and penalties are directed to respective owners’ addresses.
In all, the role of the VIS in promoting safety on the roads, cannot be over-emphasized. Motorists, however, need to cooperate with operatives of the service to ensure a safer motoring experience. Though the government does not delight in imposing undue sanction on motorists, they are, nevertheless, expected to obtain genuine documents to avoid penalties for defiance. It is important that all stakeholders key to the process.
Odumade is of the Features Unit, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.