25 August 2016

Rwanda: Public Transport Vehicles Record Over 200 Accidents

Photo: Faustin Niyigena/The New Times
The wreckage of a KBS passenger bus which was involved in an accident in Kicukiro District in June.

At least 245 accidents involving public transport vehicles occured in the past 14 months, killing 91 people while 408 others sustained injuries, a Police report states.

The report was presented by the Commissioner of Police George Rumanzi, Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety Department, yesterday, at a meeting that brought together owners and representatives of public transport companies, held at the Rwanda National Police (RNP) Headquarters in Kacyiru, Kigali.

The report covers July 2015 to August 2016.

CP Rumanzi said accidents were caused by reckless driving, wrong maneuvers, violation of right of way, speeding, use of cell phones while driving and wrong overtaking, among others.

Speaking at the meeting, the Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel K. Gasana, reminded public transport companies to always inspect their vehicles to help reduce road accidents.

The meeting was also attended by the vice mayor of the City of Kigali in charge of Economic Development, Perfait Busabizwa, the head of transport at the Rwanda Utility Regulatory Agency (RURA), Emmanuel Asaba Katabarwa, and several senior police officers.

"Rwanda is developing at a very fast rate, meaning there is a high demand for public transport services. Many foreigners visit Rwanda on business trips, international events and tourism; as companies charged with offering transportation services to these people, you should ensure you do it in a professional and safe manner," IGP Gasana said.

He also challenged them to set company missions, visions and values.

"Strategic planning and effective administration will improve your business and check road accidents."

The police chief went on to urge the transporters to lay strategies to ensure road safety and management of their vehicles and drivers.

The vice mayor, Busabizwa, said: "Rwanda's main resource is its people, that's why we should collectively ensure we protect Rwandans from any harm."

He observed that some drivers abuse drugs, which can be a source of fatal accidents.

The chairperson of Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives (RFTC) Col(rtd) Ludovic Twahirwa recommended that a special school be established, particularly for bus drivers.

"We should as well not hire any driver without a recommendation from their former employees since it has been observed that a driver is sometimes sacked from one company over recklessness and the next day he is hired by another company, which doesn't solve the problem that we want to address," said Twahirwa.

The issue of installation of speed governors was discussed and the parties recommitted to fast-track the process as one way of preventing accidents caused by speeding.

Also discussed were measures to deal with unprofessional conduct and indiscipline of drivers and improving the standard and quality of driving schools.

RURA also promised to start issuing vocational cards within a month, to responsible and disciplined public transport drivers recommended for safety driving.

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