The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) in charge of Operations, Felix Namuhoranye has challenged owners of public travel agencies to get involved in the management of their drivers to prevent fatalities on road, which largely result from the behaviours of drivers.
Namuhoranye made the call on Thursday while opening the one-day training on road safety for owners and managers of local travel agencies, at the Rwanda National Police (RNP) General Headquarters in Kacyiru.
This was the third batch to benefit from the same training in the City of Kigali, which is designed to supplement the ongoing national road safety campaign towards behavioural change and safe road usage.
The first two training sessions benefited operations and logistic managers for travel agencies.
The training for operations and logistics managers was also conducted in the Eastern Province this week and will be extended to all the provinces.
The Deputy Police Chief said that the government has invested much in the prevention of road accidents but owners and senior managers of transport companies should feel the primary duty to take safety precautions.
“We are increasing mechanical inspection centers from one to four in different parts of the country, and they will start operating soon; we are installing CCTV cameras and enforcement of speed governors, but without your ownership and partnership, all this will not have the desired impact. Drivers have many ways to cheat or bypass systems, and these are behaviours that put lives of people at risk, which we should fight together," DIGP Namuhoranye said.
DIGP Namuhoranye addressing the transporters yesterday. / Courtesy
In addition to the Motor-vehicle Inspection Centre (MIC) in Kigali and the mobile facility, more centers are being constructed in Huye, Musanze and Rwamagana districts to extend services closer to the people and further ease access to vehicle inspection services.
Currently, the Remera-based MIC and the Mobile Inspection Lane have the capacity to serve about 800 vehicles daily.
Namuhoranye emphasised that leadership has a key role to play in changing behaviours of drivers.
“We are doing many things but they can’t replace leadership. You are the owners of these vehicles, the behaviour of your employees is your responsibility."
He noted that accidents should only be called “accidents” in case of natural disasters, otherwise most of them are "predictable and avoidable" if drivers follow traffic rules and regulations and change their conduct on road.
“When speed governor devices are installed in your vehicles and a driver decides to disconnect them just to exceed speed limits, and in due course they get involved in an accident, will that be called an accident? When a driver drinks and drives, should it be called an accident when it occurs?" DIGP Namuhoranye challenged the transporters.
“We urge you to intensify the monitoring, inspection and control of your vehicles, drivers and other staff, appreciate drivers who work professionally and take action to those who do not comply with the rules and regulations. Drivers involved in drunk driving, tampering with speed governors and use the phone while driving should be held responsible; ensure your drivers have enough time to rest to prevent likely accidents that result from accumulated stress."
Theoneste Mwungutsi , the chairperson ATPR, the association of local transporters, said that they are committed to change human behaviors through implementing what they have learnt.
“We thank Rwanda National Police for this training, we have to take the message to our fellow leaders and drivers, and even our passengers to ensure sustainable road safety,” Mwungutsi said.
Godfrey Nkusi, the managing Director for Rwanda Interlink Transport Company Limited (RITCO), also observed that leaders and owners of transport companies should be cautious on road safety through education, maintenance of their vehicles, improve the welfare of their drivers and monitor their discipline.
The one-day training was in line with a 52-week national road safety campaign dubbed Gerayo Amahoro that aims at behavioral change for all groups of road users to prevent road carnage.