Thursday, April 19, 2007

Telecom lessons for FRSC

Driving along the late Pa Alfred Ruwane Road, former Kings Way Road, Ikoyi penultimate Wednesday, there was a traffic hold-up and members of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) were on duty just before the AP filing station.

Suddenly, a senior road safety official approached an air conditioned car having seen the driver adorning a bluetooth headset, obviously on the left ear equally with his left hand on the jaw, which happens to be the side of the officer and waiting for the traffic to move.

It was baffling to see the officer initially tapped on the driver’s side and as a law-abiding citizen, the driver wind-down the car window in obedience, only to be confronted with the question, “Are you making a call?”

Definitely the officer thought that the driver was covering his mouth so as to avoid his being seen while making a call and driving.

However, the driver was apt in responding in the negative that he was not making a call, but wondered why the officer has to make the move in the first place having seen his kit of mobile communications headset.

So, one thing that came to mind with this incident is that the officer who approached the driver was not a junior officer and secondly, he is ignorant of what the bluetooth headset was all about, let alone the mere wired headset.

But come to think of it, it means that FRSC has a lot to do in terms of educating its men and women to avoid such embarrassing situation, because not every motorist who knows his or her rights would take such a ridiculous question calmly as this driver, moreso, when he had some international observers for the April election in the car and a journalist.

In addition, what the driving code of most countries said about the use of mobile phone while driving, is that it’s forbidden, hence headsets were introduced alongside to ensure that people or drivers precisely could use their two hands on steering instead of using one hand to drive and another on steering.

The question now is that if such a senior officer is ignorant of what the stipulations of the driving code and law of the land said on mobile phone usage behind the wheels, how much less would a junior officer under his control?

The definite answer to the aforementioned is the need to engage FRSC workforce on some telecommunications lessons focusing on the fundamentals and various headset models available in the market both locally and globally as well as reminding them that the usage of headsets is not an offence in the first instance.

Also, this kind of lessons could be formulated to be quarterly or twice a year as the case maybe, due to evolutions on various headsets models and invariably how these headsets look and work.

Therefore, it is a wake up call for the Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and FRSC to team up and come up with a programme to tackle this kind of issues before it becomes a heightened embarrassment.

As declared by one of the vehicle occupants, it could be annoying especially if the driver had been a temperamental individual and given the kind of hardship people go through daily, coupled with the tropical situation in the country, many Nigerians are known to be very hot-tempered.

He also advised that in order to avoid a similar incident, somebody should advocate for a telecom lessons for FRSC please.

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