The number of traffic accidents decreased by 16.5 percent, this year, owing to the implementation of a raft of traffic control measures by the national police.
According to a traffic police report, released yesterday, 4,078 accidents were registered in the last 11 months, down from 4, 884 recorded over the same period last year.
A total of 355 deaths were recorded between January and November, the report indicated.
Chief Supt. Celestin Twahirwa, the Traffic Police Commander, said that most accidents are as a result of reckless driving, with over 70 percent of them caused by taxi motorcycles.
Currently, there are more than 45,000 taxi motorcycles nationwide, with majority of them concentrated in Kigali City.
Twahirwa observed that the drop was occasioned by increased capacity in operations, acquisition of road safety equipment and awareness campaigns targeting pedestrians and drivers. “We have been carrying out continuous efforts towards improving our services, which was possible due to support from the government. Training is part of our continuous efforts to enhance our services.”
He noted that the Police had stepped up enforcement mechanisms such as highway patrols, speed radars and identification of accident black spots.
The traffic chief further appealed to the general public to be more vigilant during the festive season. “We are doing our best to offer all the required services, but the public should also be responsible.”
A Kigali-based taxi-motorcycle operator, Andre Uwimana, blamed some of the accidents involving motorcyclists on reckless members. “There are some members who lack requirements such as [driving] licences and key information on traffic rules.”
Lodovic Twahirwa Dodo, the president of Atraco, the country’s largest association of commuter owners and drivers, said his association had teamed up with police to conduct seminars involving its drivers.
“We have been conducting such seminars and they are yielding positive results. There are now fewer accidents involving drivers registered in our association,” Dodo said in a telephone interview.
Atraco has over 1, 000 commuters.
“Every morning, we give them [drivers] guidelines; remind them to obey traffic rules, a move that is now paying off compared to previous years. Those who don’t obey our rules are penalised, including suspension or expulsion, where necessary,” added Dodo.