Nineteen people died and several others were injured in two separate road accidents at the weekend.
Twelve people died on the spot while 14 others sustained serious injuries on Saturday night when a Toyota Hiace mini-bus (better known as Twegerane) they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck on the Kigali-Huye highway.
The accident occurred shortly after 8pm in Ryabitana Village, Gacurabwenge Sector in Kamonyi District.
The accident occurred hours after seven children were knocked dead by a car in the northern Gakenke District on Friday, as they returned home from a confirmation sacrament celebration in the area.
In the Kamonyi accident involving a Toyota Hiace and a Dyna truck, the injured were evacuated by ambulance to the Kigali University Teaching Hospital (Chuk) where they were admitted in intensive unit.
“The accident was due to speeding and reckless overtaking,” Southern region Police spokesperson Hubert Gashagaza said.
Initial investigations indicate that the accident occurred when the driver of the Dyna truck tried to overtake a coaster bus and rammed into an oncoming passenger minibus, killing a dozen occupants on the spot.
“This is a tragedy that would have been avoided if the driver had respected traffic rules,” CSP Gashagaza said. “It is regrettable how such one-man’s error leads to such a huge loss.”
Police increases vigilance
Gashagaza said Police has taken measures and strengthened its presence on roads to ensure that drivers abide by existing traffic rules but said efforts from the force alone are not enough to curb road accidents.
He called upon drivers to be “responsible and respect traffic rules to avoid road fatalities.”
Similar other road accidents have claimed lives of dozens of individuals while scores of others sustained life-threatening injuries last month.
Last month, Police announced that it had recorded at least 1,324 road accidents between January and June, with 97 deaths.
Many of the road accidents are attributed to speeding, reckless driving, especially with regards to overtaking, and driving under the influence of alcohol.
The increasing accidents have prompted government to devise new road safety measures including the requirement for public transport buses and heavy trucks to install speed governors.
The New Times also learnt that the government is working on establishing a drivers’ code of conduct which is set to be unveiled in the coming months.
“Drivers, particularly those carrying passengers, will be under scrutiny. There are vocational cards that will be given to drivers respecting the code. Errant drivers will receive heavy punishment, including cancelling their licences,” Deo Muvunyi, the in-charge of transport at the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency told this paper last week.