December is the most dangerous month because of a great amount of accidents especially at the end of the year in Burundi. Hence, Road Traffic Police has to act appropriately for people’s security while driving or riding.-By Diane Uwimana
About 1850 accidents occurred at the end of the 2012 year all over the country. Among the figures registered, 74 people died and 217 were strongly injured. According to Nixon Habonimana, Representative of the Observatory of Road Security “Observatoire de la Securité Routière”, many accidents are caused by sloppiness and carelessness in the street, impunity towards the actors and bribes given to policemen. “Many accidents happened between cars themselves, cars and motorcycles, cars and bicycles, and also cars hitting or running over passengers,” he points out. The same view is backed by Arthémon Nzitabakuze, the Road Traffic Police Commander who states that about 182 cases of accidents have already been recorded this December 2013. “From 21 December up to now, 72 persons have been injured and 5 have died only in Bujumbura City Council,” he indicates. The causes are multiple:“drunken driving, using mobile phone while driving, braking suddenly, using high speed, bad state of vehicles, not using security belt, bad loading … are some of the main causes of many accidents in Bujumbura City Council,” states the Road Traffic Police Commander. He also mentions that when accidents occur, Police Security punishes guilty drivers following the new Road Code. “The fine goes from BIF 20. 000 to 50.000,”he adds.
“Security measures have already been drawn”
Habonimana states that some irregularities are noticed in the traffic road. “Road corruption is the main virus that worsens the situation. About 80.000 of cars present in Burundi, only 17.000 have undergone their technical checking, others are like rolling coffins. The lack of vehicle license plates is also observed,” he regrets. For him, police agents are those who are the source of accidents instead of preventing them. “They always run after poor people like motorcyclists while high authorities are almost allowed to drive without respecting the road traffic code. In short, they don’t respect the road law like common people, something which is strange!” he underlines. According to him, it is high time Burundians and Police Security changed their mindset. “The use of alcohol test may be important to prevent any accident caused by drunken driving. Police Security Units should play their role and punish those who are guilty without considering their position”, he suggests. As we are close to the end of the year, the Road Traffic Police have already taken measures to reduce accidents. Arthémon Nzitabakuze states that checking- points should be multiplied particularly in Bujumbura City Council, cars with tinted windows should be forbidden and alcohol test should be strictly used. In fact, “the driver must not exceed 0,80mg per litre of alcohol in human blood as recommended”. Finally, he requests everybody to be careful and watchful in order to respect the national road traffic security code, and policemen to reject any kind of bribery: “it is a kind of complicity”. He warns everyone who will be caught, will be punished according to the law.