Uganda: How New Traffic Law Affects Motorists

Kampala — The newly amended Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998, will see motorists and car owner face various penalties, including a fine of Shs1m and above for breaking rules.

A driver or an owner of a public service vehicle will also have to be a member of a company or an association that provides public transport before getting a licence.

"The minister may, on organising public transport under subsection (1), require public transport providers to form companies, registered associations, partnerships, cooperatives or savings and credit cooperative societies in a manner prescribed by regulations in order to qualify for a license under this act," Section 71(1a) of the amended Act reads.

The licence could be given to an individual operator or a group.

Gen Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport, said the amended law will empower government to organise public transport.

"This will ensure sustainable and organised public transport, ensure self-compliance, discipline on the roads and avoid wasteful competition by operators," Gen Katumba said yesterday.

Public transport has been unregulated with different factions claiming leadership of the industry, which has led to non-payment of levies.

The amended law also prohibits the modification of vehicles without authorisation from the chief licensing officers.

Gen Katumba said owners of lorries have been fixing bars on beds to increase the items the vehicles carry.

"I see trucks carrying sand with a raised bar in the vehicle beds. Such acts are not allowed in the new law," he said.

Mr Winstone Katusabe, the Commissioner of Transport and Road Safety, said the modified vehicles must meet all the standards if they are to be registered.

New digital transport providers such as Uber and Safeboda will also be licensed and regulated in the amended Act.

The new law clears on the ownership of a vehicle.

Unlike in the old traffic law, only personal vehicle could only be registered in one individual's name, but in the new law, co-ownership is allowed.

"For Instance, a husband and wife or two partners can register a car in their names," Gen Katumba said.

Mr Katusabe said the enforcement of the law will start after the public has been sensitised.

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