The figures were revealed yesterday at the Rwanda National Police (RNP) General Headquarters in Kacyiru during the Police-Media interaction session also attended by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dan Munyuza, Prosecutor General Jean Bosco Mutangana and the Secretary-General of Rwanda Investigation Bureau, Col. Jeannot Ruhunga.
The deputy commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety department, ACP Teddy Ruyenzi said they have upscaled traffic operations to ensure the safety of everyone on the roads.
He said that arresting drunk drivers reduced road accidents from 26 deaths in the first week of August 2019 to 7 in the last week.
Minister Busingye said that Rwanda is on course to achieving record road safety levels that government effort to save lives on the road will not be spared.
He said that the “road safety sector has assumed ownership” but added that “safety on road should be a choice.”
“We are on course to achieving an orderly, efficient and fast public transport sector and the strengthened road safety campaigns and operations are designed to achieve that target to guarantee safety for all,” Minister Busingye said.
"One fatal accident can go as far as affecting the family, community, business and the economy; it’s something that stands between poverty and development," the Minister added.
He said the idea of this year-long campaign and operations should be widely welcomed and supported.
“A driver cannot do two things; it’s a complete profession that cannot be mixed with alcohol or using a phone when driving. We will not wither until people understand that this is a life-saving act," emphasized Busingye noting that Rwanda should be a road safety by choice country that laws and regulations should come last.
“Speeding, zero alcoholic, skilled drivers and divided attention; all these are good and bad choices we make. We want drivers, who take safer choices without being forced. Prevention is a better choice rather than cure or post-mortem. The cost of unsafe roads is loss of lives, lifetime injuries, property, and financial loss. We should and will not get tired to prevent such,” he said.
Minister Busingye commended the role of the media for influencing change in road security calling it “phenomenon and building a safer community.”
IGP Munyuza explained that the 52-week campaign is also aimed at instilling the spirit of positive behaviors related to respecting set speed limits, preventing drunk-driving, protecting children against alcoholic drinks and drugs.
“We urge Rwandans to adopt this culture of not endangering children with alcohol and drugs; this is the responsibility of owners, managers and attendants in bars and entertainment spots to own this; the media fraternity to write against it; Rwandans to report people who abuse the rights of children,” IGP Munyuza said.
He further advised against public drunkenness, which is also against the law.
Prosecutor General, Jean Bosco Mutangana emphasized that the “law is clear against serving alcoholic drinks, public drunkenness and driving while drunk.”
He said that fatal and serious accidents caused by drunkenness can be treated as manslaughter and causing unintentional bodily harm, respectively.
Manslaughter, under article 111 of the penal code attracts imprisonment of between six months and two years, and a fine of Rwf500, 000 to Rwf2 million or only one of these penalties.
Causing unintentional bodily harm, on the other hand, is punishable under 118 with an imprisonment term of at least three months and not more than six months and a fine of up to Rwf1 million. The penalty can go up to two years’ imprisonment if it results in death.
Public drunkenness is also punishable under article 268 with imprisonment of between eight days and two months and a fine of between Rwf20, 000 and Rwf100, 000 or only one of the penalties.