Despite recent and alarming fatal road accidents, Police maintains that the general trend of road accidents in the country is on the decline.
The disclosure comes after a horrifying accident Saturday claimed the lives of 14 people along the Musanze-Kigali highway.
According to the Commanding Officer of the Traffic Police, Superintendent Robert Niyonshuti, the tragic accident is a one-off incident which should not imply a worsening situation.
“There is a general decline in the number of accidents in spite of the few isolated cases of fatal accidents here and there,” Supt. Niyonshuti told The New Times at his offices Tuesday. He pointed out that “human error” contributes to over 80 percent of the accidents.
Police records seen by The New Times indicate a downward trend in the number of accidents between January and July this year.
A partial 2008 report shows 720 and 673 accidents in the first Quarter and second Quarter of the year respectively, most of them caused by recklessness.
Lack of concentration or carelessness (49 percent), wrong movements (29 percent) and speed (11 percent) are indicated as the major causes of accidents.
The records also confirm that most accidents occur between 2p.m and 8p.m (43.7 percent) The report also revealed that drivers between the ages of 25 and 35 were the most affected with 48% incidences.
“To reduce this there should be a change of behavior … three things need to be brought into play,”. Niyonshuti said, whle referring to them as the “Triple E.”
“Education, Enforcement and Engineering,” are the three fundamentals desirable to hold back road accidents according to the traffic police chief.
Accordingly, education especially involves proper instruction of drivers and all road users and strengthening the system of testing drivers. Enforcement entails road patrols among others while engineering is all about the condition of roads.
Niyonshuti explained that even though ‘engineering’ is some how outside his territory, efforts are usually made to inform both Kigali City Council and the Infrastructure Ministry about the state of roads.
“Through road safety committees, we normally conduct ‘road audits’ and check on road infrastructure like sign posts,” he said, hastening to add, “We inform them…but roads are very expensive and implementing all this is not an easy feat…it usually takes time.” He pointed out enforcement and education as the main reasons for the overall decline in road accidents.