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Uganda: Government proposes Shs200m penalty for speed limit defaulters in new Bill

PARLIAMENT: Government has proposed a Shs200 million penalty for drivers who default speed limits along public roads.

The Bill once passed will penalise those who drive above the recommended speed as well as those who driver below the prescribed speed limit.

The fine is contained in the Road Bill, 2018 that is currently before parliament.

Clause 54 (3) of the Bill, reads, “A person who fails to comply with a speed limit set under subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding ten thousand currency points (Shs200,000,000) or imprisonment not exceeding seven years, or both.” A currency point is equivalent to Shs20,000.

Subsection 54 (1) vests powers to the minister of work and transport to prescribe the speed limits in regard to all public roads or sections of public roads.

The Bill also prescribes tough sanctions for damage and inappropriate use of public roads, including demonstration by way of burning tyres or digging holes, walking on the road under the influence of alcohol or other narcotics, among others.

Dumping and any other form of littering on public roads will be punishable by a fine of Shs200 million or a jail sentence not exceeding five years, while those who construct in road reserves would face a Shs400 million penalty.

A road reserve is proposed to be 40 metres from the middle of the road, on either sides. Contractors who fail to implement agreed designs and standards will not be spared either.

The Bill under Clause 76 (1) reads: “A contractor who constructs a road which does not meet the requirements of standards prescribed by the Minister under this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two million currency points (Shs40 billion).” This is in addition to the compulsory completion of the project.

About the Bill
The Bill was presented to Parliament by Mr David Bahati, the Minister of State for Planning.
The object of the Bill is to reform and amend the law relating to the development, management and maintenance of public roads and access to roads in order to conform to current government policies, plans and programmes.

It also seeks to repeal and replace two Principal Acts; the Roads Act of 1949, and the Access to Roads Act, 1969 on grounds that the laws are over 50 years old and outdated.

“Since then, the management and administration of public roads has advanced considerably,” Mr Bahati states as a justification for the Bill.

The Roads Act was enacted in 1949 to provide for the establishment of road reserves and maintenance of roads while the Access to Roads Act, enacted in 1969, set out the procedure for owners or occupiers of land situated in relation to roads to apply for access to the road.

Mr Bahati said, that the laws suffer a lot of inadequacies for modern day applications.
If adopted by Parliament, the law will give powers to the minister to close any or part of a public road.

“The Minister may, by legal notice in the Gazette, close any road or part of a road to all motor vehicles, trailers or engineering plant for such period as may be specified in the order,” reads the bill in part.

Any person who fails to comply with the directives of a closed road shall be fined 1,000 currency points (Shs20 million) or one year in jail.

By Daily Monitor

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