Public transport operators have committed to fast-track the installation of speed governors to support efforts geared at ensuring passenger safety and ending road carnage.
Speaking during a meeting between Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and transporters, Olivier Nizeyimana, the president of Rwanda Association of Passenger Transporters (ATPR), said installation of speed governors is a “prerequisite to safety and a must”, adding that safety of passengers and other road users should be a top priority for sector players.
The meeting, on the implementation of the Presidential Order on installation of speed governors, organised by RURA in Kigali recently was also attended by Rwanda National Police (RNP), public transport firms and associations as well as five companies allowed to supply and install the hi-tech devices, a statement by the regulator indicates.
It added that the participants discussed the current implementation status of the Presidential Order governing speed governors after the expiration of the February 2016 deadline. The February 2015 Presidential Order had set a grace period of at least 12 months, and requires all public transport vehicles and trucks to install the devices that limit speed to the maximum of 60km/hour.
The policy is aimed at eradicating fatal accidents that largely resulted from high speed especially by public transport vehicles, according to RURA.
Addressing the meeting, Nizeyimana cautioned drivers against tampering with the devices claiming that some passengers are not happy with the new system of regulating speed.
“We cannot entertain unprofessional drivers who do not comply with guidelines and traffic laws, putting passengers at risk. Therefore, the commitment we have made today should be defined by action, including installation of the devices by all public transporters and cargo trucks,” Nizeyimana said.
He also urged the public to desist from prompting drivers to speed, noting that passengers should acknowledge that speed governors are for their safety.
Anita Mukamusoni, from the Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives (RFTC), said service delivery necessitated that sector players comply with guidelines and regulations “to make our roads safer.”
She advised travellers to adopt the culture of planning their journeys instead of complaining and pushing drivers to make mistakes or tamper with the devices.
Speaking at the meeting, Emmanuel Katabarwa, the head of Transport services at RURA, said non-compliance by some players had “affected the business of those who have already installed the devices besides compromising passenger safety.
Though the deadline to install the devices was February 2016, figures from RNP indicate that only 37 per cent of the public transport buses have installed the speed limit devices, according to the regulator.
Katabarwa said a survey conducted by RURA in partnership with Rwanda National Police found that some operators had partially installed the devices because their gadgets lacked a segment that allows enforcement agents to check their functionality, while others had tampered with the speed governors.
“No vehicle transporting people or goods will be allowed to operate without a well-installed and functioning speed governor. Any vehicle found without the device will not be permitted to operate till the owner complies with the Order,” Katabarwa said, emphasising some of the key resolutions taken during meeting.
The hi-tech 60km/hour maximum speed governors have the capacity to trim down the speed to 25km/hour every time the vehicle attempts to exceed the set maximum velocity.
They also have a storage computer which allows controllers or traffic officers to check the previous speed of the vehicle, and errors, if the device was tempered with.