Police Arrests 10,000 Traffic Offenders in one Week

At least 10,825 traffic offenders were arrested last week for violating various traffic regulations.

Faridah Nampiima, the traffic police spokesperson said the biggest number of the offenders were driving vehicles in dangerous mechanic conditions. These stood at 2,165 followed by motorcyclists without valid driving licenses at 1,617 and reckless drivers at 1,567.

Police say vehicles that have worn-out tires, lacking side mirrors, dilapidated bodies and sometimes faulty braking systems and lights are some of the factors considered to describe a vehicle as being in a dangerous mechanical condition commonly known as DMCs.

But although they were in dangerous mechanical conditions, the drivers were only issued express penalty tickets, while the vehicles remain on the road.

This approach of giving DMCs penalty tickets has been criticized 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?” Bambanza questioned.

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 say 1,617 Bodaboda riders were arrested between Thursday and Friday for not possessing valid riding permits. Kampala Metropolitan Police South had the biggest number of riders without driving licenses at 970, East had 131 and North had 508.

iraje Mutyaba, the Kampala Central Bodaboda chairman, said they are tired of pleading with riders to own licenses 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 42 million Shillings. 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.

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