Rwanda: Heftier Fines Not Solution to Road Accidents

By The New Times


Of late, there have been a number of fatal road accidents that are pushing authorities to take drastic measures to curb them.

At least 1.17 million deaths occur each year worldwide. Of those, 492 happened in Rwanda last year.

The number might seem negligible compared to say, Kenya, where the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that between 3,000 and 13,000 deaths are recorded there annually.

Senators have been grappling with how not to go down the Kenyan route and one of their suggestions is to increase traffic fines for offenders. Already the ones in place are exorbitant; between Rwf10, 000 and 150,000, but little has changed.

Most traffic offenders do not own the vehicles they drive; many are employees, so a hefty fine will only affect the owner of the vehicle who has to pay to avoid their vehicle being impounded.

Penalties should be directed against individual offenders and not third parties. Instead of increasing fines, lawmakers should suggest deterrent measures, one of them being the introduction of the point system.

For each offence, depending on its gravity, points are deducted from an offender’s driver’s permit. The number of points deducted could then determine the penalties, including driver’s license suspension for a certain time, and if push came to shove, permanent withdrawal of the permit.

Offenders who can afford it pay the fines and life continues; they can even afford to be repeat offenders.

We can only reduce carnage on our roads if pro-active measures are taken, but not ill-thought ideas that hardly make a dent on the prevalence of road accidents.

About the author

Ihesiulo Grace

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