A meeting called by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to sensitize truck drivers on the new regulations on roads usage turned chaotic after the drivers accused the authority of setting up regulations that do not favour them and could put them out of business.
The regulations include; heavy fines on drivers who abandon their trucks on the road for more that 6 hours, increased cash penalties on overloading and repairing of any damages on the road in case of any accident caused by reckless driving on the part of the driver.
“A driver who contravenes the law commits an offence and is liable on conviction, to a fine not exceeding two hundred currency points or imprisonment not exceeding 24 months” said Birungi Kamuteera, the manager vehicle load control at UNRA.
Byron Kinene, the chairman Drivers and Transporters’ Association (DTA) said UNRA had rendered most drivers unemployed due to the mistreatment imposed on them including using faulty weigh bridges which give wrong results.
“We have been on a number of operation with executive director and she knows that in Uganda there are no functioning weighbridges. With that, now you go on to draft regulations with penalties without even rectifying the problem,” Kinene said.
According to the drivers, they are not solely responsible for some of the road accidents and problems but also the corrupt UNRA officials at the weighbridges, who always ask for bribes.
“All weighbridge operators are corrupt. They use the facility as an opportunity to exploit drivers on top of being arrogant,” said Richard Sserwadda, a driver.
“The roads are too narrow for us to use yet UNRA claims our roads are standard. If you don’t want us to park on road side, what happens if a driver is tired in the course of the journey?” queried Kiwanuka Harington, a truck driver.
UNRA early this year promised the drivers that it will fix all the problems affecting them but with the new regulations, they have been left even more disappointed