Vehicle mass bill to lawmakers
The Roads Authority this week held a stakeholder consultative session on the draft vehicle mass bill at the Windhoek Country Club. The aim of the new bill is to regulate laws on vehicle overloading and to impose stiffer sentences for imposers, which, under the new bill will now include both driver and owner of the overloaded vehicle.
The bill which is awaiting Cabinet approval also seeks to remove the stigma associated with getting a criminal record for overloading. Under-Secretary of Transport at the Ministry of Works and Transport, Phillip Amunyela said the decriminalization of overloading offences has come at an opportune time. “ A study was undertaken by the government in 2008 which revealed that the wrong person, namely the driver who has no role in the overloading of the vehicle is prosecuted instead of the operator, the fines issued by law enforcement officials and courts have no bearing to the damage caused to the road infrastructure, overload offences like any other traffic offences are considered to be minor offences regardless of the millions of dollars in the maintenance costs involved. The study also revealed that operators suffer as a result of repeated court appearances by drivers.”
Also speaking at the meeting Acting Chief Executive Officer at the Roads Authority, Conrad Lutombi said the bill will culminate in a new act that will regulate vehicle loads countrywide. “It is essential that we protect road infrastructure from any type of preventable damage. Leaving our road infrastructure unprotected is detrimental to the development of our country. The fees collected will be channelled back into the maintenance of the country’s road network”.
Apart from the damage caused to the road infrastructure, overloading has been found to be a major contributor to preventable road traffic accidents.