Akeredolu’s administration’s twelve Vehicle Inspection Service Centres-
By Adetokunbo Abiola
Vehicle inspection is a process mandated by governments all over the world to ensure a vehicle is inspected so it can conform to regulations governing safety, emission, or both.
In the past, inspections are carried out periodically or on the transfer of title to a vehicle, but in some countries such as Netherlands, it is no longer necessary.
Inspection stations are situated so drivers can move into them to see if their vehicles pass inspection once they are due for the process.
It is therefore not surprising that motor vehicle administration has gone digital, due to the emerging challenges of road accidents caused mainly by the use of unworthy vehicles by both private individuals and commercial transport owners.
The impetus is to meet the United Nations Decade of Action for the reduction of road crashes by 35 per cent globally.
The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja is the first in Nigeria to adopt the Computerised Vehicle Inspection Service (CVIS).
In the past few years, states such as Lagos, Niger, Anambra and a few others have gravitated toward the procedure.
In Lagos State, for instance, the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode instituted the Lagos Computerised Vehicle Inspection Scheme (LCVIS) to redefine road travels and establish a safe secure, reliable and efficient transport system.
Vehicle inspection centres are springing up in parts of Lagos such as Ojodu, Apapa, Epe, Oshodi, Odo-Olowu and other areas.
Fees chargeable for inspection at the centres are pocket friendly, and most centres attend to small-to-medium capacity vehicles such as buses, saloons and suvs while a few centres have the capacity to cope with bigger vehicles such as trailers and trucks.
In Niger State, the government vehicle Inspection Service is the one in charge of its motor vehicles administration, and it is under the state’s Ministry of Works and Transport.
Anambra State has also joined the bandwagon of states which have set up computer based vehicle inspection centres to replace the old ways of checking vehicles for road worthiness.
The government there expressed commitment to ensuring rickety vehicles are easily detected and ordered off the road.
Ondo State is the latest state to adopt this way of thinking on its roads.
In the past, manual checking of vehicles had been in vogue, but due to the nature of the Ondo State condition, unserviceable vehicles oozing out hazardous gases were very much in operations.
Though statistics are hard to come by, experts believed rickety and smoky vehicles contribute a lot towards the incidence of motor accidents in the state, necessitating new thinking in the vehicle inspection sector.
And the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu administration had from the onset stated its determination to improve the state of vehicles operating on Ondo State roads, so that they become road worthy and don’t pose threats to innocent and law-abiding citizens of the state.
By September last year, the days of old and rickety vehicles were numbered, as the government announced plans to establish twelve digitalized Motor Inspection Centres for the purpose of ensuring that vehicles plying roads were in good working conditions.
The centres were to be first established at Ondo, Akure, and Owo.
The government said the centres would carry out integrity tests out on vehicles and issue out certificates of road worthiness to qualified ones.
The centre would help motorists put their vehicles in proper working conditions in accordance with global environmental safety standards, as the computers installed in them would analyze and diagnose the state of the vehicles.
Vehicles unable to pass integrity tests would be given one month to fix, before they were impounded if positive measures toward improving safety standard were not implemented.
Speaking on the issue, Mr. Tobi Ogunleye, Special Adviser to the State Governor on Transport, said the operational capacities of the centres would be large enough to accommodate all vehicles, including articulated trucks.
He said the proposed computers for the centres would bring immediate results that show a critical diagnosis of every single vehicle brought for examination.
Ogunleye said, “Computers that would be installed at the centre would be analyzing and diagnosing the state of vehicles. Those who cannot pass the integrity tests would be given one month to fix them.
“If such vehicles return and we discover that the conditions are poor and are not fit to ply our roads, such vehicles would be impounded and would not be allowed to leave the compound of the inspection centre.”
Government officials say the causes of road accidents include human, mechanical and environmental factors.
If rickety vehicles are taken off the roads, they say, roads would become cleaner, safer and better regulated.
One way of achieving this, they say, is by fixing the mechanical condition of vehicles frontally, so as to reduce the chances of accidents on Ondo State roads.
The benefits of digital periodic testing therefore include improved maintenance culture, prevention of pollution from vehicle emissions, improved fuel economy etc
If road accidents are minimized, they say, the benefits could extend to other areas of the state, especially when residents are desperate for an improvement in the quality of living.
By January this year, however, the Akeredolu administration was set to commerce its initiatives towards ensuring vehicles plying Ondo State roads were road worthy, as the needed machines had been installed.
It would be the first-of-its-kind computerised vehicle inspection service that would be used to diagnose vehicle’s parts to ensure they were fit to be on the road in order to avert accidents.
According to the State Director of Vehicle Inspection Services, Mr. Alaba Adeleye, the machines were procured by the state government to replace the analogue inspection, and would start full operation within three weeks in Akure, Ondo, and Owo.
The VIO boss explained that the development was aimed at ensuring safety and preventing accidents resulting from rickety vehicles on our roads, noting that the machine would help to detect the condition of a vehicle within seconds.
He noted that before a vehicle was allowed to ply the road, the user was expected to possess roadworthiness certificate, which was renewable every six months for commercial drivers, and annually for private vehicle users.
Adeleye however added that, henceforth, before the certificate was issued or renewed, vehicles would be inspected with the machines.
The VIO director appreciated the efforts of the current administration in Ondo state at putting the road networks in good condition, noting that good roads would prevent accident occurrences.
He appealed to the public not to see the activities of VIO as witch-hunting the road users, but rather to ensure safety.
He also enjoined drivers to drive to live, and watch speed rather than watching time while using the road.
Later in the month, the state government again reiterated its commitment to rebrand the state’s vehicle inspection centre with latest technologies for optimal performance.
The Special Adviser to Governor Akeredolu on Transportation, Tobi Ogunleye, stated this during a visit to the new computerized vehicle inspection centre in Akure, the state capital.
Ogunleye noted that government had begun the establishment of the twelve digitalized Motor Inspection Centres in the state for the purpose of ensuring that vehicles plying the road were in good conditions.
He stressed that the centres would help motorists put their vehicles in proper working conditions in accordance with global environmental safety standards, as the computers installed in the facility would analyze and diagnose the state of the vehicles.
On his part, the General Manager of Ondo State Computerized Vehicle Inspection Services, Mr. Segun Obayedun, who commended the Akeredolu’s administration for moving the facility from analog to a digital one, noted that officers had undergone modern training on how best to handle the equipment .
Others who spoke believed that with this development, the incessant road crashes and environmental pollution occasioned by rickety cars would be greatly reduced .
In February, the state governor visited the vehicle inspection facility in Akure to see how work was progressing.
The new facility, which is located within the premises of the Vehicle Inspection Office, Akure, would inspect one hundred and twenty vehicles in a day and provide jobs for thirty – six engineers.
However, not all the equipment expected had arrived, a development which had slowed down the date for the commencement of operations.
Speaking during the governor’s visit, the Managing Director of the company, Segun Obayendo, said the facility would be commissioned very soon, after the remaining necessary equipment were ready.
He explained that the centre was also located at Owo and Ondo, adding that other ones will also be sited in Ikare and Ore thereafter.
Governor Akeredolu said the government was determined to rid the roads in the state of the vehicle that were not road worthy. He added that the centre was important to car owners to enable them to diagnose their vehicles even before taking them to the mechanic workshop.
The Governor said the centre would bring confidence back on the roads, as only vehicles with roadworthiness certificate would ply roads in the state.
He, however, stressed that the centre was not in any way a mechanic workshop but would help create more jobs for the mechanics as more vehicles would visit their workshops.
The Computerised Vehicle Inspection Center which is already in operation in twelve states across the country is meant to ensure that only vehicles that are road worthy are put on the roads so as to reduce the number of avoidable accidents on the roads.