The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has said that it will resume enforcement of psychiatric tests on traffic law offenders in the country with effect from July 1.
According to Bisi Kazeem, FRSC ‘s Corps Public Education Officer, in a press release in Abuja today , Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, stated this at the opening of a five-day training programme for 22 FRSC officials on traffic safety for non-motorised transportation (NMT) in Abuja on Monday.
Oyeyemi said the test would focus on four areas of violations namely, use of phone while driving, traffic light and route violations as well as dangerous driving.
The move, according to him, is necessitated by continued violations in the identified four areas despite efforts by the Corps to change the behaviour of motorists through education and enforcement.
“We are worried about the continuous use of phone while driving, traffic light violations, route violations and dangerous driving.
“I have invited the commanding officers for a strategic session on Friday.
“We will give them full directives to resume the referral of all these class of offenders to various government hospitals for check of their mental state.
“I think it is an act of irresponsibility for somebody to be driving and be using phone or for a traffic light to stop you and you are jumping the line.
“It means something is wrong with your mental faculty. So, there is need to examine this, to really check whether you are fit to drive, whether you have the mental capability.’’
“ Fine is not the issue; the issue is we need a positive attitudinal change of Nigeria.
“We cannot continue to be having fatal crashes due to traffic light violations, people jumping the traffic lights, I think it is crass irresponsibility.
Oyeyemi said that offenders would bear the cost of the test in addition to paying the stipulated fines.
He stated that the FRSC was empowered by its enabling act to undertake the proposed psychiatric examination.
“The Act (FRSC Establishment Act) is very clear on this. You can challenge it. People have been challenging the act, and that is the beauty of democracy.
“You can challenge it if you want to. For you to have a drivers license, you must go for medical test.
“So, I can refer you back for medical check. What I am asking you to do is to go back for rechecking whether you are actually fit for driving, simple. It is very clear.
“The offender will bear the cost. When they confirm that he is fit, then he will go for retraining programme and pay the fine.’’
The Corps Marshall said the NMT training programme, which is sponsored by the Government of Netherlands through its embassy in Nigeria, was pursuant to corps’ determination to mainstream non-motorised transportation in the country.
Non-motorised transportation includes walking, bicycling, skating, wheelchair travel and other forms of human powered transportation.
Oyeyemi said that besides reducing accidents, bicycling promotes clean urban transportation and physical fitness. He said the FRSC had been in the forefront of the campaign for cycling as a means of transportation in the country over the years.
According to him, the corps has developed working documents, built collaborations with other stakeholders and rolled out several programmes including the National Bicycle Week as part of its advocacy.
He said the NMT training programme, which is being sponsored by the Government of Netherlands through its embassy in Nigeria, was in furtherance of the corps’ efforts.
He explained that the training would improve the knowledge of FRSC personnel on NMT to enhance the agency’s advocacy and adaptation to safety for this mode of transportation.
“This is a certainty to propel attainment of the goals of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety aimed at reducing road crashes and fatalities to 50 per cent by 2020.
“We need to promote this form of transportation because talking about climate change, Nigeria is signatory to the Paris Accord.
“So, we need to reduce greenhouse effects through control of emission control, and this is one of the ways to.
“There is no reason why I cannot ride bicycle from my house to the office which I will be doing once in a while. We should ride our bicycles which is another form of exercise,’’ he said.
The Dutch embassy is providing both the financial and technical support for the training, which is divided into two phases. Under the first phase, eight middle level officers of the FRSC underwent a week training on NMT in Netherlands between May 28 and June 3.
The second phase, which the Corps Marshal declared open the FRSC headquarters in Abuja on Monday, was enlarged with additional 15 participants.
While thanking the Dutch embassy for providing the training platform, Oyeyemi solicited more support from Netherlands for non-motorised transportation in the country.
Mr Joop Goos, the consultant for the programme, said the training would involve classroom lectures and practical exercises to deepen the knowledge of the participants in NMT.
While noting that the expectations of the Dutch embassy were high, Goos urged the participants to make good use of the training opportunity.