Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state has launched an electronic device to check whether vehicles have valid documents without engaging in manual stop and check of vehicles’ papers.
The device, Auto Inspector, is the first of its kind in Nigeria and will help to reduce traffic gridlock on Lagos’ highways occasioned by police stop and check of vehicles’ documents. With the device, stolen vehicles can also be easily identified as the device could tell the name of the owners of such vehicles as well as the history of such vehicles.
Launching the device at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, South West Nigeria, Fashola said Lagos had joined the league of selected cities in the developing world where traffic management and compliance with vehicle documentation regulations had been revolutionised with the introduction of high-tech device .“Traffic congestion experience on Lagos roads is some of the time compounded when traffic control and law enforcement officers stop motorists to check their vehicle particulars and determine their documentation status which hitherto was done manually. “This is avoidable stress and the same purpose of checking particulars and documentation of vehicles can be achieved through automation utilising technology without disturbing the flow of traffic,” he said.
According to him, the auto inspector service would enable traffic control and law enforcement officers to simply punch the registration number of a vehicle into a hand-held electronic device and instantly determine the vehicle and vehicle owner’s documentation status. Vehicles that will be screened by auto inspector are those registered in Lagos State (what about those not registered in Lagos?) which have their updated documentation data including vehicle license, driver’s license, hackney permit and road worthiness/MOT captured on the AUTOREG platform which is operated by the Motor Vehicle Administration’s technical partner, Courteville Investment Plc,” he said. Fashola added that the device would enhance compliance since motorists in contravention were easily identified as the device verifies the validity or otherwise of the vehicle documents instantly.
He stated that the device would lead to relative reduction in man-hours wasted in traffic during checks by law officers as well as help to eliminate corrupt practices by law enforcement agents as the status of any vehicle screened was simultaneously captured both by the hand-held device and operators manning the servers at the Automated Registration, AUTOREG control rooms. “It is also a huge boost to our crime prevention and control efforts due to instant data-capturing capabilities. It will also boost e-governance,” he said while advising motorists to update their vehicle documentations.
We can say this is a good development and a great way to control corrupt practices and reduce crime. But I think this should be an eye opener for FRSC and Police as one of the challenges of these project is that vehicle registered outside Lagos has no data with them…what about these ones? This should be a FRSC or police project (a National project).Another issue is entering the plate number is not well automated system. It is possible that the plate number is tagged such that the handheld device can read the car information just by getting close to the car enough. This would eliminate the delay in punching the vehicle details on the handheld device by officer. If Federal government can pick up this project, FRSC and police services would be improved.
This is also a clue for embedded system experts in Nigeria showing that numerous problems in our society are waiting for our creative solution. Leveraging on emerging technologies like RFID will help a lot.