Kampala- The Uganda National Police has created a special road traffic unit that will be working with the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to ensure that trucks traversing Ugandan roads adhere to the axle load rules.
While addressing journalists at East African Community (EAC) non-tariffs barriers communication strategy meeting on Tuesday, Dr Steven Kasiima, the director traffic and road safety at Uganda National Police said, overloaded trucks are the major causes of accidents on highways because they breakdown around black spots.
He added that the abnormal loads especially cement, also damage the roads, weigh bridges and bridges yet it is hard to tow them away because of the load.
“Recently I intercepted a trailer along the Gulu-Kampala highway destined to South Sudan, loaded with 120 bags of cement instead of 56. The owners whom I later learnt are powerful people, began calling me not knowing that I was the one who intercepted it myself,” Mr Kasiima told journalists.
He explained that during a joint EAC consultative meeting on Non-tariff barriers held in Mombasa recently, it was identified that road traffic blocks are some of the non-tariff barriers impeding the smooth flow of goods across the region and the Uganda police has removed all of them in Uganda.
“Imagine in a roadblock, a truck spends five minutes being checked and we had 30 of them from Malaba to Mutukula, that meant two and half hours wasted on roadblocks. Given the state of the roads, if the goods being transported were perishable, then it meant the traders were making losses,” he explained to journalists.
He said as a control measure, Police has started escorting fuel tankers from one border point to another and also increased motorised patrols on all the highways instead of the roadblocks because they are proving more effective.
Mobile weigh bridge
Mr Steven Kasiima noted that UNRA has acquired a mobile weigh bridge because it was discovered some overloaded trucks along the highways bypassed weigh bridges after officials manning them took bribes. The police force is now embarking on using the mobile weigh bridges to intermittently conduct spot checks on trucks with suspicious cargo weight because overloading is a new form of smuggling.