Rwanda: Law Reform Commission to Complete Review of Road Traffic Bill By August 18

The Rwanda Law Reform Commission will complete a review of the draft law governing road traffic on August 18 and send it to the Ministry of Infrastructure for tabling before parliament, The New Times understands.

The bill that seeks to replace the existing legislation, will among other changes allow for driving license testing to be done with automatic vehicles.

According to the Chairperson of the commission, Domitilla Mukantaganzwa, the existing law was enacted 36 years ago and since then there have been many changes on the roads and vehicles used.

The new bill was initiated by the Ministry of Infrastructure and sent to the Law Reform Commission for review on April 18.

“We are still reviewing it and we will take it back to the Ministry of Infrastructure not later than Friday, August 18, after completing its review,” she said.

Among the Commission’s core responsibilities, it examines draft laws prepared by State organs before they are submitted to the Cabinet for approval.

Mukantaganzwa said that after receiving a draft law, the Commission’s work is to ensure its proper drafting (wording), ascertain whether a bill is not in contradiction with other laws, especially the Constitution and whether it is in line with a policy governing the matter for which it is providing for.

During a senatorial session held on July 25, Senator Evode Uwizeyimana expressed dissatisfaction with the delay in passing the comprehensive traffic bill that would include specific automatic car driving license tests, among other traffic-related regulations.

When The New Times asked why automatic car driving tests and licensing have not yet started being issued in Rwanda, and when that is expected to come in force, Police Spokesperson CP John Bosco Kabera, replied “the existing road safety laws did not provide for automatic cars (using them in testing or issuing related driver’s license). However, the law is being revised to include these aspects.”

Removing points from an irresponsible driving licence holder

Apart from automatic car driving tests and licensing, the bill, among other provisions, proposes removing certain points from a driver’s license in case the holder violates traffic rules, Infrastructure Minister Ernest Nsabimana told The New Times.

Nsabimana said that the bill provides that points can be deducted from an ‘irresponsible’ driver’s license — for all motorised vehicles, not only automatic cars — when they violate traffic rules, such that a license can be withdrawn from them in case of multiple violations.

“Many accidents are caused by driving behaviours or attitudes, citing people who drive while they are drunk or on phone.

He said that in developed countries such as South Korea, “such driving behaviors are punished by deducting points from your license, and as they reduce, you become more cautious.”

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