Ten Tanzanian bus drivers have been banned from driving passenger service vehicles into Uganda by the regional regulatory body, the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA), which found them with forged driving permits.
The director of Traffic and Road Safety, Steven Kasiima, said 10 out of the 20 Tanzanian drivers plying the Ugandan route were tested and found incompetent.
“Most drivers in Tanzania have forged permits which have been confirmed by SUMATRA and we are going to stop them from driving here. SUMATRA is going to inquire how they [drivers] acquired the forged permits,” Kasiima said.
He told The Observer recently that during the verification and issuance of identification tags to bus drivers entering into the country, many were found to be wanting. The verification exercise has expanded to all East African countries with bus drivers coming to Uganda.
Kasiima said all bus drivers with foreign permits would be vetted in order to fight road accidents in the East African region.
“We started with Uganda, and now we have been in Tanzania and Kenya. Wearing badges is the government’s new initiative to crack down on incompetent drivers and reduce the increasing road carnage in the country,” Kasiima said.
He said they also vetted bus drivers in Kenya who are entering Uganda and they are yet to get the results.
“We are going to Rwanda and Burundi to also vet bus drivers entering Uganda. In South Sudan, we shall not vet them because almost all bus drivers going there, are from Uganda and they were already vetted early this year,” Kasiima said, adding that in Uganda, 200 out of 1,000 bus drivers vetted, failed the test.
He said majority had a history of causing accidents, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol, while others did not have the necessary qualifications. Many drivers are poorly trained and drive vehicles they are not qualified to drive while others are ignorant of traffic regulations, road signs and markings.
“In Tanzania, they put up regulations that all bus drivers and drivers of other passenger service vehicles must go for training in one of the four licensed training schools they have in the country in order to get the permit,” Kasiima said.
According to last year’s annual crime and traffic report, reckless driving caused 1,252 deaths.
Source : The Observer