Repeat traffic offenders to face court, say police

A breakdown truck tows away a taxi that plunged into River Namatala on Mbale-Tirinyi Highway on May 4. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Police say the  Electronic Express Penalties Scheme, currently used, hasn’t been able to curb accidents or indiscipline on the road. 

The Traffic and Road Safety Directorate has announced a new operation against errant motorists in which they vowed not to give more express penalty scheme tickets to repeated offenders, but produce them to court. 

Motorists that repeatedly commit the same offences and drunk drivers will be taken to court, police announced. 

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Faridah Nampiima, the spokesperson of the Traffic Directorate, said the operations that started yesterday are intended to curb increasing traffic accidents. 

“We have identified those black spots and we are going to deploy officers to operate there 24 hours a day. We are going to increase motorised patrols on the road. You will see more of our officers on the road,” ASP Nampiima said yesterday.

Road accidents and deaths have continued to increase. A total of 17,000 crashes were registered in 2021 compared to 12,000 in 2020. At least 4,159 people were killed in those crashes last year compared to 3,663 registered in 2020.

Traffic returns for the last six months also show high numbers of accidents. 

In May 2022,  a total of 40,760 traffic cases were registered, which is way above the monthly average of 28,000 incidents last year.

Traffic police officers spent the better part of yesterday arresting errant motorcyclists, especially those riding with two passengers.

ASP Nampiima said many offenders have been committing the same traffic offences nearly on a weekly-basis even after giving them the Electronic Express Penalties Scheme (EPS) tickets, but in the latest operations, they would be detained and later on be taken to court. 

“You find motorists who don’t wear seat belts over and even after giving them the EPS. If we get you again committing the same offence, you will be taken to court. Motorists who fail to comply with our traffic guidelines to stop will also not be issued EPS tickets. They will be taken to court,” she said. 

The EPS was introduced as an instant alternative punishment to errant motorists so that they can avoid the traditional inconveniencing police where the suspects are arrested, detained and they spend time and money in lengthy court processes. 

But the scheme, which was intended to inflict financial pain in the errant motorists’ pocket, hasn’t been able to curb accidents or indiscipline on the road. 

Although motorcyclists and pedestrians are the major victims of accidents, they are largely not policed on the roads.