The Rwanda National Police (RNP) department of traffic and road safety has launched a new initiative aimed at controlling traffic flow and preventing accidents on highways and in busy urban centres.
The unmarked police cars will be dispatched across the country with plain clothed police officers to keep defiant drivers in check, according to Commissioner of Police (CP) George Rumanzi, the commissioner for traffic and road safety.
“We have identified that most accidents happen few metres after the vehicles involved have crossed the traffic police post; this is because when they cross the traffic posts, they increase speed, start using phones while driving and all sorts of bad driving behaviours,” CP Rumanzi said.
“Drivers also have a tendency of signalling each other on the whereabouts of traffic police officers and this, unfortunately, gives them liberty to breach road safety standards which continues to deprive people of their lives; these are unacceptable behaviours that this new initiative comes to address to spot and penalize such defiant drivers,” he added.
The vehicles are well equipped with all the traffic related materials including overhead removable traffic lights which are stored in the trunk and the officer has the option of putting it on the roof when they notice a traffic offender.
“Plain-clothed officers will first identify themselves and present their service cards before taking any action against the offender.”
“This and many other initiatives are meant to protect the lives of people; our intention is not to penalize people, but to ensure that roads are safe for all. Respecting traffic rules and regulations and saving your life should be the responsibility of every road user, it shouldn’t get to the extent of penalizing you for putting your life and others at risk,” the traffic chief said.
Public transport vehicles are said to be the most involved in accidents, according to a report by the traffic department on road security status.
At least 91 people died in 245 road accidents involving public transport vehicles recorded since July last year, 408 others surviving with injuries, some which are lifetime.