REGIONAL Traffic Police Officers have been reminded to enforce Road Traffic Laws and regulations efficiently and demonstrate high professional standards in order to curb persistent road accidents.
Chief Traffic Police Commander, Mr Fortunatus Musilimu issued the call while presiding over a one - day legal training workshop for Regional Traffic Officers (RTOs) held in Moshi town on Thursday.
Over 30 regional traffic officers from Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar attended the workshop meant to enlighten them with newly proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Act of 1973.
The seminar, which was organised by the Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA), also aimed at improving road safety and the quality of traffic officers who enforce the law on Tanzania’s roads.
It also served as a platform through which the road law enforcers, as key stakeholders in transportation sector, contributed their views and opinions as part of the mandatory law making process.
The traffic police chief expressed optimism that the training will enable the regional traffic officers comprehend the proposed road laws reforms, adding that the up-skilling workshop will lay the foundation for efficient discharging of the RTOs day to day duties. SACP Msilimu implored the RTOs to ensure the existing Road Safety laws and regulations are properly enforced and that non-complying road users are reprimanded accordingly.
The traffic boss mentioned among other areas the need for proper enforcement in blood alcohol limits, speed limits, disobeying traffic signals or signs, driver licensing and vehicle roadworthiness.
Mr Musilimu admitted that current act is ‘outdated’ and that there is need for a new legislation that will fill the gaps in the 44-year old Road Traffic Act. “We need an updated, effective and stringent legislation that will help us fight road accidents, the law should address among other things, the five key risk factors, which are speeding, drink-driving, seat belt use, helmet wearing and child restraints,” stated SACP Musilimu.
He commended TAWLA, Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), Tanzania Lawyers Society, WHO, among other members of the Coalition of Road Safety non-government organisations for tirelessly playing the advocacy role for the improvement of road safety legal and policy environment.
SACP Musilimu said there was more awareness on road safety issues and improved media coverage of road crashes thanks to regular training of media practitioners conducted by TAMWA and other coalition members.
The training was part of activities designated to mark this year’s National Road Safety Week, which carried the theme: ‘Prevent Road Crashes, Obey the Law - Save Lives.’ According to statistics from the traffic police, 1,375 people died as a result of 4271 road crashes recorded between January and September this year, with 4233 escaping with injuries.
The stats show a sharp decline in number of deaths, accidents and injuries from the previous year, in which a total of 7,791 accidents, which were responsible for 2,503 deaths were recorded. But Tanzania still remains poorly ranked on global road safety status, with WHO estimating that around 4000 people die on roads every year.