Vehicle owners who leave their broken down vehicles on the roads will now be charged heavy fines for the offence in order to address this issue which is becoming a serious problem as it impedes the smooth flow of traffic as well as causing roads accidents.
Minister of Transport and Public Works, Sidik Mia, made the remarks in parliament on Thursday while responding to a question asked by Member of Parliament (MP) for Mangochi Malombe, Romeo Bwanali.
Bwanali asked the minister to consider imposing a high penalty of not less than K200, 000 to road users whose trucks and lorries are packed in the middle of the road due to breakdown.
Responding to the question, Mia said the issue of broken down vehicles, especially trucks left unattended on the roads, was becoming a serious problem as it impedes the smooth flow of traffic and in many occasions cause road traffic accidents that could have been avoided.
He said enforcement of the Road Traffic Act (1997) and the Regulations Act (2000) which empowers the enforcement officers to tow off the vehicles and levy the towing charges to the owner of the vehicle could be used to address the problem.
“My ministry is currently exploring how such vehicles can be best cleared from the carriage way. We are engaging City Councils, as they have been delegated such powers to put into effect by-laws from the said Road Traffic Act to deal with such matters.”
“We are also working on the possibility of City Councils and District Councils to outsource vehicle towing services to the private sector so that any broken down vehicle left on the road carriage way be towed to the city council premises and only redeemed when a towing charge and a prescribed penalty fee has been paid by the vehicle owner,” said Mia.
The minister said such measures would deter would be offenders from getting involved in the practice and subsequently reduce the practice itself.
However, Mia said his ministry had already started taking measures that meant to reduce numbers of accidents on the roads.
He cited the enforcements of vehicle fitness in terms of tyres, fire equipment material and other facilities and the enforcement of speed limit on the roads as some of the measures already in place.