The Ministry of Transport says it has started sensitizing the stakeholders about the new traffic and road safety regulations government has introduced for enforcement starting next Financial Year.
Transport Minister Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, in a telephone interview on Wednesday, said they are educating the public about the new rules in the amended Traffic and Road Safety Act 2014, which intends to stop the informal way of business in the transport sector.
“This informal way of doing business has to stop at some point. We shall not have everybody opening up a garage under every tree. These services have to be registered so that if anything happens, you know the garage and somebody there must be accountable,” he said.
Last week, the ministry held the Road Safety summit in Kampala where the new road safety regulations were introduced to the stakeholders.
Under the new Act which President Museveni assented to in May this year, the Transport Licensing Board and the National Road Safety Council, have been disbanded giving more powers to the Transport Regulation and Safety Department to shorten the time for decision making during law enforcement jointly with the Police.
Other new laws include registration of all motor garages and driving schools, collecting revised fines which include Shs6million for unqualified drivers, Shs2million for vehicles in dangerous mechanical condition, Shs6million for driving under influence of alcohol as well as more stringent penalties which have been introduced for reckless driving some of which leave no room for fines but imprisonment.
When interviewed on Tuesday to explain the implications of the new measures Ugandans, Winstone Katushabe the Chief Licensing Officer of Motor Vehicles said the new laws are coming in following a regulatory impact assessment and cost benefit analysis of the existing laws, some of which still remain relevant.
“Some sections of the Road Traffic and Safety Act 1998 are still relevant but these are coming in because of the emerging trends due to passage of time. The law was last amended in 1998. Now we have digital transportation, ICT in transport there could be other provisions which were made under the law the,” he said explaining that under the old law, if you took five years without renewing the permit, one had to apply afresh for a new permit.
He said government is beginning to license garages in March 2021 because they want to streamline their operations because of a belief that some vehicles are vandalised in the garages.
He said when motor vehicle inspection starts, there must be licenced garages where the services can be offered so that the public is also protected. This will also include registration of all driving schools and creation of route charts to reorganize public transport.