The Ministry of Justice is set to introduce new traffic rules that will also come with innovative penalty “points” if a motorist is convicted of a motoring offence.
Depending on the level of a traffic crime committed, a motorist could face a monetary fine, be imprisoned or banned from driving if found guilty.
Justice Minister Johnston Minister Busingye told Sunday Times that the bill will be represented to the cabinet for consent “very soon, probably during the next cabinet meeting”, before it is sent to parliament for further scrutiny.
Busingye said that the new law will ensure road users respect speed limits and zebra crossing, among other road signs.
“Under the new traffic law, penalties will be harsh until we all learn to respect the rules. The law is coming out soon,” Busingye said during the Police-Media interaction session held at the Rwanda National Police (RNP) General Headquarters in Kacyiru.
“If you cannot be disciplined on the roads, the new law will deal with you. If you can’t respect Zebra Crossing or other road signs—we will ensure you don't drive again. We will get someone to drive you. We will not tolerate lawlessness on our roads,” he added.
In so doing, Busingye says, the new law will not only promote order on the road but it will also reduce on rampant road accidents.
Statistics on road security indicate that 437 fatalities and 662 injuries were recorded by the Traffic Police between January and September this year.
IGP Dan Munyuza said: “Major causes of road accidents are, over speeding, bad maneuvers, drunk driving yet these can be avoided”.
Some of the causes of road accidents include overtaking in notorious blackspots with 7,034 related offences in the same period; driving while speaking on the phone that recorded 6,841 cases; 1,404 overspending cases; and 1,064 drunk driving offenses in the nine months.
Mechanical defects was also highlighted among the causes of accidents. Out of 106,835 mechanical inspections conducted in the last nine months, only 49,359 were found to be roadworthy.
The majority of accidents are recorded between Friday and Monday. Most of the victims are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists
“We are considering that when you are convicted of a motoring offence, the law enforcers will fine you and can endorse your driving record with penalty points. You will then be disqualified from driving if you accumulate more penalty points within a specified period.
We won’t stop you from owning a car. You will probably hire a driver; you are safer that way, you have provided a job to someone and the police are happy not to run after you every other time,” Busingye said.
Meanwhile this Sunday, Rwanda will also join the rest of the continent to mark the annual Africa Road Safety Day.
“The security situation in the country is calm and we attribute this to the continued partnership from all stakeholders and the public. As we head to the festive season we believe everyone will celebrate is a responsible manner,” Munyuza further stated.
He added that during the festive season, the police was not only ready to keep law and order ,but also to apprehend law breakers.
Munyuza also said that police is willing to offer assistance to car owners who might drink and are not able to drive their cars.
“Instead of driving while drunk and kill people or lose your life, we urge you to call our toll-free numbers, ask for a police officer to drive you back home. Some police officers will be on standby ready to assist. We won’t arrest you. We want you to celebrate festive season and return home safe,” Munyuza said.