THE Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, recently set the stage for war against traffic offences when he ordered the Nigeria Police, FCT Command to arrest motorists that beat traffic lights in the capital city and take such persons to the psychiatric hospital for immediate evaluation.
As it were, the Minister directed that the bills for the psychiatric tests and administrative processes should be borne by the erring motorists to serve as deterrent, adding that if the arrested motorist is certified to be medically fit by the psychiatric doctors, then the culprit should be prosecuted to face the consequences of his/her bizarre action.
To achieve this, Bello asked the police to also permanently station the speed bikes provided by the Inspector General of Police at various traffic intersections for the purposes of sternly enforcing the directive.
He also directed the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat to make ambulances available at traffic interchanges to convey any motorist arrested by the police to undergo psychiatric test at the hospital.
And to prove this directive is not all puff and no smoke, 36 drivers in Abuja have already been apprehended for beating traffic lights in the FCT, and have been made to undergo psychiatric tests, with doctors certifying their various levels of fitness.
This initiative by the FCT Minister couldn’t have come at a better time than now, especially if one considers the increasing challenges posed by greater vehicular movement within the Federal Capital City as a result of rapid population growth and the need to ensure the safety of lives and properties on the highways.
As road users in the FCT, we all have the responsibility to reduce road carnages on the roads because the dangers of running red lights and the damages can be quite extensive if left unchecked. This is because pedestrians and other drivers rely on red lights to proceed safely, and if one beats that red light, one has just victimised the many people who have entered the intersection with a false sense of security.
The likely impact when one runs a red light will be something called a ‘t-bone’ impact. This means that the front end of one motor vehicle directly hits either the driver’s or passenger’s side door in its entirety. If a driver enters an intersection under the assumption that traffic has stopped in other directions, he has not even braced himself for the pending ‘t-bone’ impact.
Additionally, pedestrians enter intersections often based solely on the security of the red light. One will find that most pedestrians do not ‘look both ways’ once a light turns red; so they are relying on drivers to obey the traffic signals. As a driver, it is advisable to slow down when approaching any intersection for this reason, and to avoid an accident with another driver who might inadvertently run a red light in another direction.
Speed limits, traffic signs and all other traffic signals should be closely adhered to by everyone who gets behind the wheel. Traffic laws are put in place to protect all travellers sharing space on the road. So, following traffic signals isn’t an option. Those who treat this as such should not complain if they are pulled over to the side of the road by traffic officers and made to undergo rigorous evaluations.
The FCT Minister, therefore, deserves kudos for enforcing this critical aspect of road traffic that would certainly help minimise the amount of accidents that occur on the road every day.
- Akilu wrote this piece from Durumi II District, Abuja.