The Catholic church has joined Rwanda National Police (RNP) in Gerayo Amahoro campaign to educate Rwandans on safer road usage to prevent fatalities mainly caused by human behaviours.
The partnership started this Sunday when the campaign was conducted in all Catholic churches across the country during the mass.
While addressing the congregation at St. Michel cathedral in Kigali, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera, Commissioner for Public Relations and Media, and RNP spokesperson, said that the partnership will further impact on lives of people on roads.
He said that Police and the church are responsible for the lives of people, ensuring peace and togetherness. “We are happy that today we are with the Catholic church to drive this agenda.”
“Every year, we register over 5000 road accidents which kill more than 500 people, over 2,000 survive with serious injures and 4, 000 with minor injuries; more than 3, 000 property are destroyed and over Rwf20 billion spent in compensation. 80 percent of these accidents are caused by human behaviors, meaning they are avoidable,” said CP Kabera.
For safety on road to be guaranteed, he observed that every road user should respect rights of others by minding “safety first.”
He reminded the congregation that pedestrians should use the left side of the road facing incoming traffic; use pedestrian pathways when crossing; look left, right and left before crossing and ensure that motorists have given right of way.
Pedestrians were the majority victims of road accidents last year with 223 fatalities, 184 motorcyclists and 130 cyclists.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, over 1.3 million people die in road accidents every year globally, with children aged between 5 and 14 accounting for the majority victims.
CP Kabera outlined using the phone when driving, riding and crossing the road; drunk-driving or riding; speeding; and violating pedestrian cross-walks as some of the human behaviours causing fatal accidents, which should be avoided.
“We are experiencing a serious problem in overtaking where most motorists overtake on the right side of the road especially on two-lane-same-direction road, because cars ahead are driving on the left, which is not acceptable. Keep right when driving.”
He further hinted on passengers, who put their transporters especially motorcyclists under pressure to speed and sometimes don’t wear a helmet.
“Wear a helmet because it’s your life when an accident occurs; hold a minor by hand when on road; don’t drive when children are standing, playing in the car, with the head or hand out of the window.”
“We don’t want to force people, we want road users to do the right, make safer choices and make it a culture.”
Father Innocent Consolateur, St. Michel head priest, said that peace and safety is a gift from God.
“When you have peace and love you wish the same and respect others,” said FatherbConsolateur
He added: “A healthy spirit in a healthy body makes a man of God whole. Anything that destroys the soul destroys the House of God. Gerayo Amahoro equally protects the House of God.”
“Respecting other people on road is protecting God’s souls and we are happy to partner with the Police to protect God’s people,”
Gerayo Amahoro, which is now in its 35th week, is designed to reach out to all categories of road users in 52 week to influence safer road usage.