Reckless drivers risk being jailed 10 years without an option for a fine if convicted of causing fatalities according to the amended Transport and Road Safety Act 2020.
The amended law was launched on Thursday by the Ministry of Transport and Works.
Speaking at its launch, the Minister for Transport, Gen.Katumba Wamala said the new law will help reduce chaos but also hold reckless road users culpable for their acts and misbehavior.
“The act provides for a demerit point system where points are attached to the driving license. The points can be deducted if the holder is convicted of certain traffic offenses prescribed under regulations,”Katumba Wamala said.
According to the law assented to by President Museveni on May 22, 2020, drivers will have opportunity to upgrade licenses without going back to driving schools and receive licenses with longer validity.
The amendment also introduced among other things driving licenses with a 5 year validity, demerit points that could lead to loss of a driving license among a reckless drivers and garage and repair facilities to be registered.
“The act introduces a driving license with validity of five years in addition to those of one and three years,” the Transport Minister said.
The minister noted that the law also ensured that the Ministry of Transport takes back its powers for vehicle registration from the Uganda Revenue Authority.
The law will also see registration of garages and tech-based transport service providers such as safe Boda and uber.
“Transport network providers using online digital platforms such as Uber, Bolt, Safe Boda shall be licensed and regulated to ensure that they are safe, secure, are efficient and that they comply with their tax obligations,” Gen.Katumba Wamala said.
The act will also see medical facilities held culpable for failing to offer medical assistance to accident victims who don’t have money.
All drivers will also be required to complete all vehicle transfers to avoid future complications in case vehicles they sold are involved in any criminal incidents.
The Director in charge of Transport at the Ministry of Works and Transport Kajuna Benon said the old law, which had been operational for over 20years, had fallen short of emerging trends such as technology.
The act also touches on the controversial issue of the right of way.
“Authorised emergency vehicles include ambulances, police vehicles, fire brigade vehicles, the armed forces and motor vehicles designated by the minister by statutory order.”
The key driver for the amendment, according to officials was to improve road safety, organised, efficient transport, progressive legal regime.