POLICE have arrested 30 drivers of public transport vehicles for allegedly manipulating speed governors, and impounded about 40 vehicles whose devices had been tampered with.
Impounded vehicles include those that were yet to implement the Presidential Order of February 2015 that requires all public transport vehicles to fit in speed governor that regulates maximum speed at 60km/hour.
While addressing journalists at Police Headquarters in Kacyiru, yesterday, the Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety, George Rumanzi, said the act was unearthed in the last week of an operation to enforce the directive, conducted in partnership with Rwanda Utility Regulatory Agency (RURA).
“So far, only 37 per cent of public transport vehicles have installed speed governors. This uptake is low and that’s why we have intensified efforts to ensure that all public transporters install the devices,” Rumanzi said.
“However, in the process of enforcement, we encountered drivers or owners of vehicles, who had tampered with the speed governors’ systems.”
How the system is jammed
Police say drivers or owners of the vehicles had overrun the system to switch on and off the device whenever they wanted after installing switch button through the system backdoor.
Others had devised ways to plug in earphones to deactivate the system, while others would (free-wheel) drive while the engine is turned off at an incline.
“We are going to look at the role played by both the vehicle owner and driver. In one way, it could be the owner who manipulated it, but it is also the driver who uses it,” he said.
The Presidential Decree gave owners of vehicles a grace period of 12 months to install speed governors, and concerned agencies established standards of how it should be done.
Vetting was done and five companies won the tender of supplying the devices.
Rumanzi said that those who altered speed governors will automatically lose their motor vehicle inspection certificate and their buses will not be allow on the roads until they comply with all required standards.
Also, one of the measures that authorities are considering is stripping off of the public transport license to whoever tampers with the speed governor, according to the Commissioner.
Reacting to concerns of 60km/hour maximum speed, Rumanzi said that it was arrived at after considering several factors.
“There was consideration of the terrain; our country is hilly, meaning our roads have many curves. Any attempt to negotiate a corner at a speed that is above 60km/hour could lead to accidents. It was, therefore, a deliberate effort to prevent fatal accidents that largely result from speeding,” he explained.
The head of transport at Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority, Emmanuel Asaba Katabarwa, said there was a grace period offered by the Presidential Order.
“We took time to sensitise owners and drivers, so whoever has not installed the device or tampers with it will not be tolerated. The law will catch up with them,” Katabarwa said.