Police and local leaders yesterday advised all road users in the country to observe road safety rules in order to avoid accidents.
This was said during the launch of the road safety week in different parts of the country.
While addressing motorists at Rukomo trading centre, the Gicumbi District Police Commander, Supt. Jean De Dieu Gashiramanga said: “Drivers should avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol.
It should be made clear that motorists should avoid over speeding, and should be on the alert at all times by wearing safety belts.”
Calling on pedestrians to respect traffic rules too, Gashiramanga asked drivers to desist using mobile phones while driving.
Gicumbi and Rulindo districts Prosecutor, Vincent Niyonzima, advised residents to always assist motor accident victims by rushing them to nearby health facilities.
In Rusizi District, Supt Johnson Sesonga, the District Police Commander (DPC) said it is the responsibility of all transporters to promote road safety.
Addressing public service transporters at Kamembe Park, Sesonga said: “The main objective of this road safety week is to encourage you as individuals in the transport business to work with other government authorities to reduce road accidents.”
Supt. Sesonga cautioned drivers against over speeding which he said is the major cause of motor accidents.
He further urged motorcyclists to always wear helmets and secure them for their passenger’s own good.
The Rusizi Mayor, Fabian Sindayiheba called upon transport operators to closely partner with local leaders on matters of road safety, adding that there is need for motorists to exhibit discipline while driving.
Dismas Kayinamura, who spoke on behalf of the transporters in the district, thanked police for organising the road safety week, saying it helps stakeholders to learn more on how to minimise accidents.
Meanwhile, in Nyagatare District, the week long campaign was launched at Nyagatare Taxi Park during which the district Police Commander, Supt. Edward Kayitare called on drivers and motorcyclists to put more emphasis on road safety rules before driving.
“This week aims at reminding you (road users) about traffic rules. The initiative forms part of efforts aimed at boosting road safety in the country,” he said.
Kayitare advised drivers to always use seat belts and drive cautiously.
“Driving when you are fatigued, drunk or while using mobile phone is strictly prohibited…they can cause accidents at any time. It is your responsibility then to reflect on these dangers,” he said.
In Musanze District, police and local leaders called upon drivers and managers of public transport companies to ensure cautious driving.
The Mayor, Celestin Kalabayinga, cited Virunga, Belevedeire lines and Atraco as public transport companies fond of breaching traffic rules and thus putting the life of passengers at risks.
Chief Supt. Rogers Rutikanga, Regional Police Commander, attributed accidents to poor road usage on the part of pedestrians and reckless drivers.
Speaking to hundreds of motorists, cyclists and taxi drivers, police said the responsibility of curbing road accidents lay within their hands.
About 106 accidents have so far been recorded since January this year in the province, 80% of which occurred during day, according to police statistics.
The Mayor revealed that the district has embarked on a sensitisation campaign through a local radio station, to create road safety awareness among residents.
In Kayonza District, the District Police Commander, Charles Kwizera, reminded drivers who gathered at Kayonza main Taxi Park for the campaign , that it’s their duty to protect passengers.
“It is our duty to protect the passengers and your lives. Don’t drink alcohol when you are to drive, let reckless driving end…we cannot afford to keep on losing people, just because some stubborn drivers have refused to observe road safety rules,” he said.
Pedestrians and cyclists were also warned to be careful when using highways.
“We have constantly had accidents due to cyclists who know nothing about road usage. There are designated areas for you, but when you reach the tarmac road, just keep off the road,” the police chief said.
Drivers on the other hand, promised to work hand in hand with the police to check road accidents in the area.
Emmanuel Habiyakare, 36, a taxi driver on Kayonza-Kigali highway said they are ready to work with the police to end the accidents.
“It is our duty as drivers to cooperate with traffic police, to end all that causes accidents. There are so many causes of accidents, and drivers are partly to blame…so our efforts to work with the police cannot be overemphasized,” he said.
In Muhanga and Ruhango districts the district police commanders, Supt. Fred Simugaya and Berte Rusindura said the seven-day campaign will be conducted in collaboration with public transport providers in close conjunction with local leaders and security personnel.
“Over speeding and carelessness by drivers is the biggest cause of accidents in the province.
We thus feel that it’s important to involve residents in this campaign which is expected to improve on road safety,” Simugaya said.
Residents and local leaders said there is need for robust campaign to be sustained in order to reduce road accidents.
By AMBROSE GAHENE, STEVENSON MUGISHA, DAN NGABONZIZA & BONNY MUKOMBOZI