Imposing penalties for crimes is the exclusive function of courts worldwide but Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) chief Dr Boboye Oyeyemi says it will begin to subject traffic law offenders to psychiatric test with effect from July 1. The FRSC an organ of the state imposing penalties on citizens for “crimes” for which it is the accuser would make it accuser, judge and jury.
The announcement to this effect was made by Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, in Abuja on Monday at the opening of a five-day training programme on traffic safety of non-motorised transportation (NMT) organised for FRSC personnel.
“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 drive and use phone or for a traffic light to stop you and you jump 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 in Nigeria. We cannot continue to have fatal crashes due to traffic light violations, people jumping the traffic lights, I think it is crass irresponsibility.’’
Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi stated that the FRSC is empowered by its enabling act to organise 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 driver’s 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.’’
Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi said offenders would bear the cost of the test in addition to paying the stipulated fines. Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi also 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.