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Police To Takeover Licensing And Regulation Of Motor Garages

Uganda Police Force will be mandated with licensing and regulation of motor garages across the country should Parliament include it in the proposed Traffic and Road Safety Amendment bill 2019.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Physical Infrastructure Committee today, the head of traffic police, AIGP Steven Kasiima asked the Committee to insert a clause in the Bill mandating Police to license and regulate motor garages.

Kasiima said that garages that don’t meet the set standards should be closed, saying the absence of laws to license these garages has seen theft of vehicles and boda bodas through dismantling them and selling them as spare parts increase across the country.

“I was in a meeting with Police senior leaders and they asked me to tell the committee to think about licensing of garages and those who don’t have places with standards shouldn’t be licensed. This is to do with escalating boda boda theft and deaths because some are taken to those garages, dismantled because they aren’t licensed, they aren’t known. We should deal with people we know. In addition, places that sale vehicle spare parts should also be licensed,” Kasiima said.

Police is also seeking to regulate tinted cars, saying most of them are used to commit criminal acts.

“The law doesn’t talk about tinted vehicles. The old law only provides for cars that carry passengers but the law doesn’t talk about other vehicles. As a result, everybody goes to Kiseka market, buys kaveera, puts it there. It can only be allowed for medical or security reasons; fortunately, our President’s cars don’t have tints. I wonder why they put these opaque tints,” Kasiima said.

It should be noted that the Minister of Works and Transport, Eng. Monica Azuba tabled The Traffic and Road Safety Amendment Bill 2019 that seeks to amend the 1998 Act before Parliament  a few months ago.

The Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah referred the Bill to the Physical Infrastructure Committee for scrutiny.

While tabling the Bill, Azuba said that the legislation is proposing new traffic and road safety measures intended to strengthen road transport regulation and management  The Bill tabled before Parliament by According to Azuba, the Bill and would take into account new and emerging trends and dynamics in road transport and road safety management, the increased number of road users, and the need to conform to the regional and international agreements Uganda is signatory to.

Government is proposing to convict offenders causing death to other road users to a period of ten years due to reckless driving as well as imprison individuals for injuring other road users will be a subject for debate.

The proposal reads; “A person who causes the death of any person by reckless driving of a motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment of not exceeding ten years.”

The same Bill stipulates; A person who causes bodily injury to any person by reckless driving of a motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant commits an offence and is liable, on conviction to a fine not exceeding three years or both.

As opposed to the old legislation that was silent on definition of reckless driving, this time around, reckless driving has been defined as; driving over prescribed speed limit, failing to use signal, disobeying traffic signs and signals, drifting into another lane, distracted driver, using handheld mobile phone while driving, driving under influence of drink and drugs, failing to stop for a pedestrian at designated pedestrian crossing.

Another new requirement by the Bill that departs from the existing law, is that motorists will be required to carry their original driving licences, or permits at all times while driving.

There is a proposal to amend Section 119 of the current act with new measures on careless or inconsiderate use of motor vehicle with the proposal stipulating, “Every person who uses, parks or stands a motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant on any road carelessly or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than five currency points and not exceeding thirty currency points or imprisonment of not less than one month and not exceeding one year or both.

The new proposal has increased the fine to Shs6M and imprisonment not exceeding six months given that each currency point is equivalent to Shs20,000 and the new proposal puts the fine at 300 currency points up from the 30 currency points and one month imprisonment in the current law.

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