22 December 2012

Rwanda: Police Warns Against Reckless Driving As Festive Season Starts

Police has warned motorists against recklessness and drink driving during the festive season.

Police asked that people should celebrate, enjoy the festive season because security is ensured, but they should do so responsibly.

Speaking to The New Times, Police spokesman, Superintendent Theos Badege also cautioned the public to avoid reckless behaviour during the festive season.

"Our intent has been and remains to ensure an end of year celebrations that are void of crime and accidents," he said.

According to police reports, on average, accidents claim at least one person every single day. And they get worse during the end of year festivities, according to statistics from previous years.

"Drivers should avoid over speeding, drink driving and generally reckless driving," he said, citing talking on phone while driving as another habit that should be avoided. The common mode of transport especially for upcountry travellers is pubic buses.

An employee of Horizon Express, which plies the 150-minutes Huye-Kigali route, says fatigue is sometimes responsible for accidents.

"Some companies exploit their drivers. One can drive from Rusizi to Kigali (6 hours) and then Kigali-Karongi-Kigali- that takes a lot of physical energy," he said. But some drivers attribute accidents to inexperienced driving.

"At the beginning, my boss used to hire minibus drivers with 3 years experience, after 5 months, we have realised that he is employing young drivers because they don't charge him much money," said a driver.

The monthly salary of a driver is between Rwf50.000 and Rwf100.000.

"We make five return trips Kigali-Nyanza-Kigali and work six days or more. Those are too many and accidents are unavoidable in this situation," the driver complained suggesting that two days off per week can minimise the daily hours on the road and hence the accidents.

According to Chief Supt Vincent Sano, the commandant of traffic police, a total of 277 traffic accidents were reported across the country during the first three months of the year with 72 per cent of them in Kigali.

A total of 4,185 accidents have been recorded in 2012 with 2,161 of them minor and 819 severe.

Concerning security, police appealed to the public to be vigilant and ensure timely reporting of any suspicious persons.

The police also warned against excessive noise in entertainments spots, churches and family parties. Police asked that people should celebrate, enjoy the festive season because security is ensured, but they should do so responsibly.

Pastor Faustin Gapira, the legal representative of Reformed Protestant Churches agrees with the police on noise pollution.

"Christians need to understand that end of the year is not anything very special for them to behave strangely while praying."

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