5 August 2016

Tanzania: State Acts to Check Road Carnage

Photo: Daily News
A road accident scene.

Six-month campaign aims at reducing carnage rate

Straight arraignment awaits reckless drivers

Points system starts, 'bad' drivers face life ban

The government yesterday announced hard-hitting measures, including introduction of a points' penalty system and straight arraignment of reckless drivers, a fresh move aimed at checking the increasing wave of road accidents.

The Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Hamad Yusuf Masauni, told a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the six-month project aims to reduce road accidents by 10 per cent.

A penalty point is essentially a formal reprimand endorsed on the driving licence record that shows that a motorist is guilty of a specific driving offence.

The point system falls under the traffic road Act chapter 168, section 25A and 114 (h) of 2002.

According to the new system, payment of fines will depend on the offence committed.

For example, if the driver fails to use a safety belt, they will be penalised by one point, reckless driving three points and speeding will be five points.

If the points reach 15, the violators' licences will be suspended for six months.

"A driver who will cause accident by reckless driving largely drunkard drivers will be remanded for 24 hours before being taken to court," said the deputy minister, who doubles as Chairman of the National Roads Safety Council.

Mr Masauni explained that points would be deducted from drivers who will be found to be driving recklessly, pointing out that drivers will be given 15 points each, deduction to zero point of which would mean revocation of licence.

"The new measures are aimed at controlling reckless driving, including speeding. We're determined to curb road accidents this time around," he observed.

Mr Masauni said the project would go hand in hand with raising awareness on the use of roads to special groups, including children, persons with physical disabilities, the elderly and cyclists, adding that the project will facilitate identification accident-prone road stretches and areas.

"Traffic officers who will perform outstandingly under the new project will also be identified and rewarded to motivate them," he told reporters.

The deputy minister further said that buses whose passengers will be found not to have fastened seat will be impounded, noting that drivers should ensure that all passengers have fastened their seat belts before departure.

Giving statistics, he said the number of road accidents had increased from 23,578 road accidents in 2012 to 23,842 road accidents in 2013, claiming the lives of 3,969 people in 2012 and an increase of 1,043 deaths in 2013.

Mr Masauni said deaths resulting from road accidents had decreased between 2013 and 2014 after introduction of stern measures against reckkless drivers, saying deaths from road accidents decreased from 3,969 in 2013 to 3,760 in 2014.

Last month, the Traffic Police Department and the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) suspended 15 buses owned by four companies from operating within the country for flouting traffic rules.

The decision was reached following the recent wave of road accidents that claimed hundreds of lives a n d left many others maimed.

The government had also declared that plans were underway to review the Traffic Act to oversee stricter action against speeding, non-seatbelt use, child restraint belts and helmets, among other traffic rules and regulations.

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