In preparation for the chaotic and trouble-prone period of the festive season, the Rwanda National Police (RNP), through its road safety department, has organised a national road safety week, slated to kick off today.
High on agenda is combating overriding traffic habits such as drunken driving which leads to over-speeding, driving while talking on a mobile phone, playing loud music, among others which have been the major cause of accidents.
In an interview with Robert Niyonshuti the head of Traffic Police, he underscored the necessity of a massive sensitisation and intervention into the hazard of road accidents most especially during the festive season.
“As we near the festive season which comes with a lot of excitements and a general relaxation in observing traffic rules, we saw it timely and important to remind people about the necessity of observing traffic rules and getting rid of risky road habits,” said Niyonshuti.
A traffic report recently released indicates that this year, 2,349 accidents have so far occurred in which 358 people lost their lives while 1,862 sustained injuries, indicating an increase in deaths caused by accidents, compared to 308 deaths in 2398 accidents in 2007.
The report further indicated that 80 of the road accidents this year were caused by drunken driving and driving under influence of drugs and 288 happened due to over speeding.
Among other road safety issues to be tackled include observation of traffic lights and signs posts, wearing seat belts, observing zebra crossings and encouraging wearing of helmets for both the motorcycle riders and their passengers.
“We have liaised with ATRACO (commuters transporters’ association) drivers and ASSETAMORWA (motorcyclists’ association), to put pressure on their respective members to put in consideration traffic safety rules and regulations,” added Niyonshuti.
Strict punitive measures for violation of road safety rules and irresponsible road usage have been put across, among which include breathalysers to check drunk drivers.