[PHOTOS]: Police launch road safety campaign
Police launch road safety campaignThe State Minister in the Ministry of Infrastructure in charge of Transport, Eng. Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye said the government is reviewing laws on road safety to increase penalties against traffic violators, whose behaviors continue to cause fatal accidents.
The State Minister was speaking yesterday in Musanze District where he officiated at the launch of the road safety campaign.
The official launch brought together hundreds of road users including drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists as well as students and residents.
Governor Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi speaking during the launch of the road safety campaign.
The countrywide campaign, which will last for a month is held under the theme: "Know and Respect Traffic Rules to Save Lives."
"The government is constructing more roads, but it's one thing to have goods roads and another to keep them safe. We are not constructing roads to kill people... we are building roads to further improve the livelihoods of the people," said the State Minister.
Last week, Rwanda National Police (RNP) held a meeting with partners including policymakers and transporters, and resolved among others, to revise road traffic laws to criminalise fatal accidents, ease the process of withdrawing driver’s and operational license including those of transport companies or individuals caught in life-threatening traffic offences.
The current law specifies a maximum of six month in prison, although majority traffic offenders easily challenge the law in court with financial penalties almost the only available option.
Terminating or suspending a driver’s license is also close to impossible in court, with only one person stripped of the license in the last four years.
While reacting on the “reckless behavior” of drivers, Eng. Uwihanganye said: "It’s not about holding a steering wheel... you are not transporting luggage; you are holding the lives of people with that wheel. You are transporting human beings whose lives matter to their families and to the nation."
He reminded that launching the road safety campaign shouldn't just be an event but a reminder of the responsibility of every individual to make roads safer for all.
"Whenever you are in a vehicle and the driver is on phone or speeding, you have a right to stop it, get out and inform the police immediately. That way, you would be saving not only your life but also the lives of others," he said.
About 23 percent of total accidents recorded between August and October were either caused or involved passenger service vehicles.
The launch was also marked with erecting new signposts.
He also reminded motorcyclists and cyclists to reorganize their cooperatives and "take safety first."
The road safety report also indicates that motorcyclists account for 18.5 percent of fatalities while cyclists comprise of 17 percent, in the last three months.
The Governor of the Northern Province, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi said that the region will carry on with the road safety awareness programmes by holding talkshows on radios.
"Roads are part of safety and development programmes and it’s the responsibility of everyone to make them safe,” Governor Gatabazi said.
IGP Gasana painting a zebra crossing.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K. Gasana said that "prevention requires strong partnership and individual responsibility to drive and use the road safely."
"Road accidents are not a pandemic; it's a result of individual behaviors that we cannot entertain. Don't drive if you are drunk; regulate your speed; don't use a phone while driving; use pedestrian pathways and zebra crossing...be vigilant whenever you are using the road," IGP Gasana said.
He also called for strengthened partnership in raising awareness and fighting high impact crimes like human trafficking, narcotic drugs and child related crimes including child pregnancy.
The road safety month will be conducted in four phases; the first week will focus on educating pedestrians on road safety standards and how safe they can use roads;
Pedestrians comprise the majority victims involved or cause road traffic accidents accounting for 46 percent of the fatalities registered between August and October.
Pedestrians also account for 21 percent of the 254 serious injuries registered in the same period.
Meanwhile, the second week of the campaign will focus on motorcyclists followed by cyclists in the third week, and vehicles in the fourth week.