"Patronise Our Driving Institutes To Improve Your Skills", Fashola Urges Lagos Motorists
• As Governor launches Motor Park Health and Safety Initiative,use of breathalyzers
Oct 14, 2011 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Friday urged Lagos motorists and vehicle operators to patronize the State's Driving Institutes located across the State in order to improve their driving skills saying it would also enhance their safety and those of other road users.
Governor Fashola spoke at the New Garage, Ojota, in Kosofe Local Government Area, while flagging off the Health Sensitization and Awareness Campaign in commemoration of the World Mental Health Day and launching the Motor Park Health and Safety Initiative of the State.
Supported at the occasion by the State's Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris and his Transportation counterpart, Comrade Kayode Opeifa, Governor Fashola said such training would enable the recipient be both a better person at work and a more efficient person in the course of his or her duties.
The Governor, who emphasized that an automobile is not a toy, declared, "An automobile requires people who are skilled to manage it and that is why Lagos State Government has, as at today, built five Drivers' Institutes located in Epe, Ikorodu, Oshodi, Ikeja and Lagos Island to train motorists, both private and public, about techniques, driving methods and driving habits".
"I urge members of the Road Transport Unions, Road Transport Employers' Associations, the Taxi Drivers' Unions, NUPENG and all of them to patronize those institutes to improve their driving skills. It may save your lives and make you a better person at work", the Governor said.
According to him, among the facilities installed at the Centres by the Government are those for eye test adding that although many people who drive today take it for granted, the result from the institutes indicate that "many people who manage vehicles on our roads have eye defects which can be corrected or assisted with eye glasses".
"I chose that I would rather live with the inconveniences of wearing eye glasses than to fall off the 3rd Mainland Bridge into the Lagoon. The choice is really yours, for your own safety and the safety of your customers", Governor Fashola said.
On other causes of accidents, Governor Fashola declared, "Accidents are influenced, induced and precipitated by substance abuse – alcohol particularly, and drugs – which impair the ability of the driver to manipulate and manage that machine called the automobile".
"As I said earlier, an automobile is not a toy. Not only do you need skill training to operate a car, you also need to be aware and to be alert for your safety and the safety of other road users", the Governor said adding that to check incidences of accidents induced by substance abuse, the Government has introduced an instrument that would help monitor the level of alcohol and other substances in a driver's system before he could be allowed to drive.
He told the hundreds of drivers and park operators, "I have come here today to launch this Breathalyzer and work with you to improve awareness about its uses and benefits, starting with commercial vehicle operators so that we can monitor the level of alcohol and other substances in their systems before they are allowed to drive vehicles".
Governor Fashola said although the machine, which has a disposable mouthpiece, is currently imported, the State Government was willing to partner with interested entrepreneurs in the country to begin to manufacture it in Lagos or any part of the country "so that we can keep this economy within us; so that our people can get opportunities to get employment in so doing".
Explaining how it is operated, the Governor said it is inserted in the mouth of the person to be tested and the person is required to breath on it after which it is read and the mouth piece disposed of adding that one mouth piece should not be used for more than one person.
The Governor said the Sensitization and Awareness meeting was aimed at increasing awareness about mental health and what can be done, not only to prevent it but also to cure it adding, "There is nothing unusual about mental health. It is part of the Healthcare Plan for the sustainability of our people and for improving their life expectancy".
He said during the Park Awareness meeting, the Government would undertake High blood pressure tests, Diabetes tests, Cancer screening tests and Counseling and Guidance for all the park operators adding, "But it is also important to emphasize that this is all about safety; safety of transport workers, their members and also citizens who patronize them. There is clear evidence that accidents should not happen if the basic things are done".
Pointing out that despite all the driving skill training and other precautions, accidents would always happen "wherever you have so many people moving across", Governor Fashola expressed regrets that lives have been lost across the country in most cases simply because of lack of emergency response.
"Lagos State has built up that emergency response capacity today. We have 767 and 112 toll free lines you can call in periods of emergency. Our LASAMBUS and Ambulance service is, probably, second to none and the best in the whole of the country today. If you call them, they will be there", the Governor said.
According to him, "In addition to all these, we have built a trauma centre in the busiest highway, at the Toll-Gate end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and we hope that other states will follow and build this kind of trauma centre across the 36 states as we go on in order to improve our capacity to save life".
"Let me say also that our concern for safety continues and very soon we will complete the installation of the street lights to light up the entire stretch of Ikorodu Road down to Apongbon and Marina to improve safety on the roads at night", he said.
Urging the people to vote massively for the Action Congress of Nigeria in the coming Local Government election, Governor Fashola told the Park operators, "I appeal to you to participate fully. This is the most important government to you. It is the one that is closest to your homes; it is the one that is closest to your wives and children. Get involved; support the Action Congress of Nigeria because we have a plan to continuously make life better for you in Lagos State.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Comrade Kayode Opeifa, in his goodwill message urged the park operators to endeavour to avoid the abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs, pointing out that the State Government has embarked on the campaign as a result of its concern for the safety of the people on the roads.
Also, a popular artiste and actor, Ayo Badmus, in his goodwill message exhorted the operators to cooperate with the State Government in order to save their lives and the lives of their customers. He urged them to avoid alcohol and drugs while driving.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, pointed out that the importance of the Sensitization and Awareness Campaign lay in the fact that many vehicle operators are unaware of some defects in them which are capable of affecting their driving and endangering their lives and the lives of others.
Such defects, according to him include impaired eye sight, High blood pressure, Diabetes and others adding that during the campaign at the park, the operators would be tested freely for eye impairment and the other aforementioned diseases. He said the Ojota Park Campaign is a pilot one as the campaign would be carried to all other motor parks in the state.
Also present at the occasion were the leadership and members of the Transport Workers Unions and Employers Associations operating in the Park as well as other top government officials and members of the Private Sector.