KAMPALA – At least 10,825 traffic offenders were arrested last week for violating various traffic regulations, Faridah Nampiima – the Traffic Police Spokesperson, confirmed on Tuesday.
She said the biggest number of the offenders were driving vehicles in dangerous mechanic conditions – DMCs – taking a share of 2,165 as motorcyclists without valid driving licences suspects recorded at 1,617 while reckless drivers were 1,567.
Police said vehicles with worn-out tires; lacked side mirrors, dilapidated bodies and sometimes faulty braking systems and lights are some of the factors considered to categorise automobiles as DMCs.
Nampiima stressed that although vehicles were in dangerous mechanical conditions, the respective drivers of such automobiles were only issued express penalty tickets. The affected vehicles remained on the road.
But the approach of giving DMCs penalty tickets has been criticised by road safety experts and activists. Sam Bambanza – the Executive Director of Hope for Victims of Traffic Accidents – HOVITA said once a vehicle is regarded as a DMC, police should impound it and force the owner to repair the affected parts.
Bambanza said that by issuing an express penalty ticket to a DMC, police are prioritizing money at the expense of the occupants and other road users.
“If the vehicle has no tyres, offload the occupants and tell the owner to buy new tyres and fix them in your presence. Why should a vehicle with worn-out tyres be issued with a ticket and allowed to continue with the journey?” questioned Bambanza.
But the police presence on the roads and the ensuing arrests did not stop road crashes which killed 56 people and left 247 nursing serious injuries. Nampiima said the causes of deaths and injuries on roads have remained reckless driving, speeding, drifting from one lane to another, using mobile phones, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and reckless pedestrians.
Police said 1,617 Bodaboda riders were arrested between Thursday and Friday for not possessing valid riding permits with Kampala Metropolitan Police South registering the biggest number of culprits at 970, East had 131 while North had 508.
Siraje Mutyaba, the Kampala Central Bodaboda chairman, said they were fed-up of pleading with riders to own licences and added that they will not intervene for any rider arrested without a permit save for those who had forgotten them at home at the time police conducted operations.
Nampiima said they have resolved that the operations against Bodabodas riders without permits should continue. But riders who present permits proving that they had forgotten them at home will have their motorcycles given back to them without a penalty ticket.
In the two days of operations against riders without permits, police issued 1,051 penalty tickets of 40,000 Shillings each totalling over Ugx42m. Away from traffic offenders arrested for not having driving licenses, and DMCs, 1,567 were arrested for reckless driving, 784 had no third party, 428 had no seatbelts, and 171 were using phones while driving.