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Road safe week needs change of inspection modalities

Road safe week needs change of inspection modalities

THIS week and throughout the month of October is going to be road safety calendar period that in my view provides a timely reminder about the contribution of testing cars motorists drive on public roads to keeping Tanzania’s roads safe.

This is the time to make sure that the vehicles on our roads comply with roadworthiness standards under famous word called ‘Wiki ya Nenda kwa Usalama Barabarani’. For the year 2021, nationally, this annual recital road safety week was inaugurated in Arusha Region.

It is well known that around thousands of cars driving on the public roads will be searching for the sticker a sign that that car has been inspected because without that traffic police might not let you go-by unless you negotiate your way through.

While it's easy to get that sticker in thinking about how you can bypass the authority my advice to motorists is that testing service is worth reflecting on the importance of the car you drive itself. Every time you find a defect and timely repaired indirectly, you’re contributing towards safer vehicles and keep public road safer. Meaning, motorist's good attention to doing this properly, and continuing to improve is what helps keep our roads safe in Tanzania.

Although it is not my intention to question guiding principle and rational on stickers given to all cars on the road whether they have been inspected appropriately or whether the motive is selling sticker for money collection whose usage and purpose is debatable or priority is on roadworthiness, my submission is targeted to prompt policy makers to rethink and design achievable car inspection method to keep safe the cars and the road users.

Realistically and honestly, the task of inspecting cars, sometime along the stations before buses start their routine journey or in dedicated locations that I do believe have no relevant equipment for the testing in the current fashion of under the RTO offices within the police force, in my opinion is not creative but is like an art that needs to be changed, if objective is to have road worth cars on the road.

If you look closely at the inspections and the mode inspectors inspect these vehicles, as even as owner of a car under inspection, you will not hesitate to find that there are so many shortcomings that I think the designers of the way vehicle inspection is done should reconsider the best way if the police force really wants to have vehicles that will prevent unwanted road accidents.

In my opinion to have a lasting solution and to ensure that our roads in Tanzania are safe and the vehicles that use them are of the right quality, there is a need to make changes in the way these vehicles are currently being inspected.

In my view, instead of being arbitrarily inspected with the motivation to sell stickers, it is better to have a long-term plan to upgrade all car repair garages in the country and provide them with equipment and be connected to the police data system that can be used to counter check if that car has gone through yearly inspection. In other countries, in such garages an inspection fees are charged for the service and it is in those garages all defective and any signals that can cause accident are repaired.

Upon satisfaction of garage operators who should regularly be monitored by relevant authorities, issue a certificate commonly known as motor on test pass certificate which will be the criterion needed when renewing the car insurance.

Inspection of vehicles information that have been inspected and those that have not will be easier to be find using the current system of road traffic inspection system to ascertain unpaid penalties, lack of insurance or any other unpaid bill. I do believe by removing the police force from this haphazardly car inspection work, the police force will dedicate time more on educating the public and not being seen as government tax collectors.

There is a need to be creative in inspecting our vehicles here in Tanzania by making good use of VETA facilities and network connectivity and the garages system in place. The integration of a nationwide vehicle inspection system data base will also give garage owners the opportunity to be in designated areas with address. I believe if such system is planned properly and every year each car using public road are examined our public roads and vehicles will not cause unnecessary road accidents currently being witnessed.

My advice to the relevant authorities and office bearers to consider the establishment of a body within the TRA that will be responsible for overseeing and ensuring that without vehicle inspection report with word PASSED TEST, the vehicle owner will not be able to renew his or her insurance. In the world and for that matter in Tanzania, I am made to believe that, according to the road traffic Act, it is a criminal offense for not having insured car while using public roads.

Dr Shayo is an economist-cum-investment banker and a Daily News columnist

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