The Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has justified the 200 percent increase on prescribed offenses, penalties and miscellaneous fees as a way for motorists to comply with rules and regulations and that will go ahead to implement the new penalties despite parliament arguing the move is illegal.
Acting Director for DRTSS, Fergus Gondwe told journalists on Wednesday that most accidents are caused by over speeding, drink and driving, reckless driving, careless overtaking, ignoring traffic signs, fatigue and overloading.
He said last year, 1,112 people were killed from 962 fatal accidents while from January to September 2017, and 1791 people have been killed in 694 fatal accidents.
Gondwe said road accidents costs the country an estimated 1 percent to 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
“This is between $47.1 million and $193.5 million annually”.
The acting boss said these figures have been necessitated due to high costs of services and materials which are quoted in U.S dollars.
He highlighted for example that miscellaneous fees have increased due to costs like K40million on internet charges payable to Malawi Telecommunications Limited.
He added payment for system software licences.
“One blank PVC card which is used for printing drivers licenses and Traffic Register Cards cost not more than Mk5.000 each” said Gondwe.
The DRTSS boss said they have launched strategies to reduce corruption which include dissemination of anti-corruption policy and DRTS client service charter.
Gondwe pointed out they are sensitising officers on corruption prevention as well as engaging the public corruption.
The Road Traffic and Safety Service has further launched a toll free line number 4040 where corrupt practices can be reported.
Parliament said DRTSS has “overstepped its mandate” by rushing to announce the new fees and penalties, set to be effected Novemebr 13 2017, without the approval of the National Assembly.
According to Maxwell Thyolera, chairperson of Parliamentray committee of Legal Affairs, they have summoned DRTSS bosses to appear before it in Lilongwe next Monday.
He said the maximum offencees not specified in the Road Traffic Act is a fine of K20 000 and or imprisonment for two years.
Thyolera said Parliament will have to discuss the new penalties and fines backed by Section 58 (2).
But Gondwe said “The Minister has power to introduce fines and penalties”.
He added that the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs vetted the changes as well as the fact that they have been gazzetted as per provision of Road Traffic Act.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :