Police have kicked off operations of impounding vehicles that have defaulted on paying the express penalty tickets issued by traffic police officers.
The tickets are issued to motorists who violate traffic regulations in Uganda, in line with the Traffic and Road Safety Regulations, 2013. The regulations list 25 offences for which motorists and offenders are liable to pay between 20,000 and 200,000 Shillings.
The offences include driving without a valid driving permit, using a goods vehicle in a manner which makes it a danger to other road users, using a motor vehicle which is not in good condition, careless or inconsiderate use of the road, over speeding, failing to give right of way to emergency vehicles and failing to stop at a railway crossing.
The others include driving without a safety belt, passengers found in vehicles without a safety belt, using a handheld mobile telephone while driving, using a motor vehicle without reflectors or warning signs, driving a public service vehicle without a valid driver’s badge and a Certificate of Compliance, and using a motor vehicle for instructing learner drivers without a valid certificate of fitness.
While drivers are expected to clear the payments 28 days after the issuance of the ticket, many have defaulted for several months, and according to Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga, traffic offenders have accumulated arrears of more than 8 billion Shillings since 2021.
In a bid to recover the unpaid money, police staged roadblocks along major streets and highways in the search for defaulters effective yesterday. With the use of mobile phones, traffic police officers can retrieve the balance due for each motor vehicle, as soon as they feed the vehicle number plate into the system using a designated code.
At Kira road police station, dozens of motor vehicles are parked by the roadside and in the nearby pitch, where according to police, they will be kept until the owners clear all payments due to the police force. They include buses, public service vehicles, trucks and saloon cars among others.
Deo Ofumba, one of those with unpaid fines expressed resentment at the operation and the complications of the payment system.
Jamil Kiwanuka, a lorry driver with a bill of more than two million Shillings says he was advised to pay at least half of the total amount before he was allowed to leave the station.
Bosco Ssenyonga, the chairman of Luweero stage at Bwaise taxi park said that most of the taxi drivers opted not to work today in order to avoid the operation. He said some of the taxis have tickets totalling above three million Shillings and appealed for more time as well as more flexible terms of payment.
Several taxi drivers are now opting for hidden alternative routes to avoid traffic police checkpoints. Meanwhile, in Moroto, up to 40 vehicles have been impounded for failing to clear express penalty ticket payments. Michael Longole, the Karamoja Regional Police Spokesperson said the vehicles have been parked at Moroto police station and will only be released upon payment.