Effective the New Year, driving licences will be acquired within 24 hours of the driving exam. This was announced by the Rwanda National Police during the launch of the annual Traffic Week at Nyabugogo Bus Terminal in Nyarugenge District yesterday.
The Deputy Commissioner General of Police in charge of Operations, Dan Munyuza, said the new system will start effective January 2014.
He said the initiative is aimed at improving service delivery.
“This is another way of ensuring safety on our roads. There is no need for someone to acquire a forged permit when they can easily get one through the right channels. This is why we continue to ease the processing of the documents,” said Munyuza.
In may this year, police reduced the time of acquiring a driving licence from three months to two weeks.
The traffic department has for the past one year been undergoing a string of reforms, some of which include improving technology, and upgrading software to detect any error in the licence details before it’s printed out.
This has significantly reduced the production timeframe.
Munyuza said traffic accidents reduced by 34.9% in 2013 compared to the previous year.
Last year, 933 road accidents were reported countrywide compared to 509 road accidents reported this year.
“About 15 per cent of the accidents involved commercial motorcyclists. This is why we are sensitising them. They should know that they are the prime beneficiaries of observing traffic rules,” he said.
Munyuza said as part of ensuring road safety during the festive season, police officers will be deployed to help members of the public who would not be in position to drive themselves home.
The Mayor of City of Kigali, Fidele Ndayisaba, urged city residents to report cases of violation of traffic rules.
“If you do not report these cases, you will be putting your life in danger. Do not let motorists behave recklessly while driving you. The police is always available any time you need them. You shouldn’t wait for trouble to call them,” the mayor said.
He also advised pedestrians to respect traffic lights and use zebra crossings whenever possible.
One of the taxi drivers, who only identified himself as Yves, backed the campaign, saying that one of the major causes of road accidents is driving while
using a cell phone and drunk driving.
In a separate interview with The New Times, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Insurers in Rwanda, Jean Pierre
Majoro, also expressed concerns over the number of accidents involving motorcyclists.
“The figures are still high, implying that the campaigns on road safety should be intensified among motorcyclists. People should know that having insurance doesn’t mean that you are protected from any accident. People should protect themselves,” Majoro said.
Officials from the Special Guarantee Fund, which compensates victims of accidents involving uninsured or unidentified vehicles, said although road accidents are reducing in number, there are still cases of hit-and-run motorists.
“Since June, we have spent about Rwf30 million on compensations of hit-and-run victims,” said Jean de Dieu Mutabazi, the Fund’s director of Finance and Administration.
The launch of the traffic week started from TIGO headquarters in downtown Kigali with government officials and top police commanders painting a zebra-crossing and placing road safety stickers on vehicles.