Vehicle inspection for safety on roads
Recent fatal road accidents brought to my mind many issues, as I tried to think about the causes for such unfortunate incidents and loss of lives.
Of course, one of the oft-cited causes for road accidents is human error on the part of the drivers (over-speeding, dangerous overtaking, drunk driving, tiredness/sleeping at the steering wheel etc.).
One can also typically hear people attributing road accidents to the nature of our roads, such as the bad nature of the roads; to others, one of the best solutions would be to widen our major highways into dual-carriage ones with two or more lanes.
Of late, I have been thinking about vehicle inspection and road worthiness of vehicles on our roads.
Vehicle inspection is a procedure mandated by nations or agencies of governments in many countries. In this procedure, a vehicle is inspected to ensure that it conforms to regulations governing safety, emissions, or both.
It is regulated by law and you will face a penalty if you break that law.
Usually, an inspection can be required at various times, for example, periodically or on transfer of ownership to a vehicle (see also www.wikipedia.org).
Vehicle inspection in Finland
In Finland, someone cannot drive a car on the road if that vehicle has not been inspected during the specified period for inspection, according to the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (TRAFICOM) (see www.traficom.fi).
During the regular inspections that are carried out at specific intervals on vehicles, the condition of the vehicle is checked and the data entered in a register.
If your vehicle fails to pass the inspection test, you will need to have the faults and defects that were identified in the vehicle during the inspection repaired as soon as possible.
After the repairs, you will need to take your vehicle again for a follow-up inspection within a month of the inspection.
I must say that usually Ghanaian/African immigrants in Finland do not miss their appointed times for their vehicles to be inspected.
Various points of inspection
There are many points where a vehicle owner can go after booking an appointment date/time in order to get the vehicle inspected.
The vehicle inspection points can be within the vicinity of where one lives, which means that vehicle owners can find it easy to go for their appointed time without much trouble.
Moreover, a vehicle inspection site must be granted a licence in order to practise the profession of inspecting vehicles.
Technology and digitalisation
The technologically-advanced world enables accurate information to be gathered and retrieved with very fast and easily.
The Finnish vehicle inspection procedure is supported by a well-developed technological system for recording information about data on vehicles that have gone for inspection, whether they passed or failed.
Everything is digitalised, which means that the data or records are stored electronically. A well-developed digital address system helps matters.
Learning from Finland
We in Ghana can learn from Finland and other advanced countries to establish an effective vehicle inspection procedure.
I do not know if we have such a mandatory vehicle inspection procedure in Ghana. If we have, maybe all we need to do is to enforce that law, that is, if not being enforced already.
If we don’t have such a mechanism of regularly requiring vehicle owners to take their vehicles for inspection then I recommend that our authorities to visit Finland and understudy their system. We can even import their expertise in this field, I dare say.
The digitalisation and integration of records that the government is pursuing can help a lot.
To me, a vehicle inspection procedure in Ghana can have the possibility to reduce road accidents since it will ensure road worthiness and safety of the vehicle on the road.
Let’s start thinking about this. Thank you!
By Perpetual Crentsil, Ghanaian lecturer
at the University of Helsinki in Finland