Treat all motorists equally before the law
What you need to know:
The issue: Express Penalty Scheme.
Our view: What happened to equality before the law? Are we not meant to be treated and protected equally to ensure that no individual or group of individuals is privileged and another not?
On Monday, police kicked off an operation aimed at recovering Shs8.5b from motorists who had defaulted on the payment of fines under the Express Penalty Scheme (EPS).
The Traffic and Road Safety Regulations, 2013, lists 25 violations for which one motorists can be handed such a ticket. Some of the offences are driving without a valid driving permit; use of a goods vehicle in a manner which makes it a danger to other road users; use of a vehicle which is in a dangerous mechanical condition; careless driving; inconsiderate use of the road and; speeding, to mention but a few.
Police mounted road checks where vehicles of defaulters were impounded. It was, however, conspicuous that no vehicle belonging to a government department was impounded.
That would suggest that drivers of those government departments play by the rule book, which is not the case.
Some of them are evidently reckless, speed, use the roads inconsiderably and often drive in a manner that puts other road users at risk.
Those are crimes under the Traffic and Road Safety Act. Why are they never penalised in the same way that those who drive privately owned cars are?
Some of the vehicles belonging to the army, police and other government departments are obviously in bad mechanical condition.
It is, therefore, often ironic that traffic officers will flag down a private car deemed to be in dangerous mechanical condition as a government vehicle, which is evidently in a worse state, creaks its way past the same check point, leaving a dark cloud of smoke in its wake.
Why are such vehicles left to continue to ply the roads when privately owned vehicles are not allowed to do so?
How do law enforcers expect the ordinary citizens to play by the rule book when entire sections of the society are not doing so? Or does Uganda have two different sets of laws, one for the ordinary citizens and another set for those in the army, police and other government departments?
What happened to equality before the law? Are we not meant to be treated and protected equally to ensure that no individual or group of individuals is privileged and another not?
Sanity and discipline on the roads can only be achieved if all motorists, including those that drive government cars, are treated equally before the traffic laws.
Drivers of cars belonging to government departments should not be spared tickets under EPS.
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