The Traffic Police chief, Chief Superintendent Celestin Twahirwa, has said that the introduction of staging centres on most of the country’s highways has helped reduce road accidents involving freight trucks.
The centres, which are sites situated along the main highways, allow drivers to make brief stops in order to check their vehicles’ mechanical conditions, such as brakes and tyre pressure as well as taking a rest.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Twahirwa talked of a plan to set up more staging centres. The existing centres, set up last year, are in Shyorongi, Gakenke, Nkamira, Sukura, Lunda, among other places.
“There have been no fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles since September,” he said.
“This is because most of the problems were caused by mechanical conditions as a result of long journeys. For example, the brakes would get worn out without the drivers noticing”.
An insider at the Traffic Police headquarters, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that at the beginning, most of the staging centres were ineffective because drivers were not making good use of them.
He, however added that with continued campaigns, drivers started to respond positively. Police also deploys traffic officers around the stages to help enforce the checks.
Saidi Kawomya, a driver of a transit goods vehicle, hailed the stops.
“One would get tired, but because we wanted to reach our destination in time, we would be forced to go the extra mile. Fatigue caused you to fall asleep, hence causing accidents,” he said.
“Ntungwa (along the Kigali-Rwamagana road) is one of the places where such accidents used to take place…at least once a week. But none has occured there since October”.