[editorial] Highway ethics, not hefty traffic police fines, is the key

Police has sent an ominous warning to errant drivers. It has announced that it intends to review traffic offenses and that could see some fines increased as much as 10 times.

Police has sent an ominous warning to errant drivers. It has announced that it intends to review traffic offenses and that could see some fines increased as much as 10 times.

Now, if that does not stop drivers in their tracks, nothing will.

Traffic regulations are there to keep sanity on our roads and generally Rwandans tend to obey them. One just needs to move across our borders to see traffic anarchy at its best.

Rwandan traffic has been tamed because of stringent measures and low level of corruption among the police, but is increasing traffic fines by 10 times really necessary?

Focus should be more on safety awareness and adequate training other than punishment. Our driving schools seem to be the Achilles heel of behaviour on the roads. They tend to dwell more on driving and parking skills than road etiquette.

Traffic signs are not roadside decorations but guidelines on how to maintain safety on our roads; they must be respected. Common sense such as avoiding driving too close behind a vehicle, respecting pedestrians and zebra crossings does not need driving school experience.

The threat of a hefty fine will definitely deter some speeding drivers in spots where they expect to be ambushed by lurking traffic officers. But what happens when the danger is past? A speed lover will surely floor the pedal.

The police should avoid focusing too much on financial punitive measures but more on building safety consciousness through constant awareness campaigns. It should not be seen as though it finds pleasure in handing down tickets and making a financial killing at the same time.

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