Overloaded vehicles will face heavy penalties in Tanzania following the enforcement of the Vehicle Load Control Act.
Starting January 1, 2019, the Tanzanian government will start enforcing the VLC Act targeting transporters who break the law.
The move is aimed at ensuring that road infrastructure coming up across the country will last longer by ensuring that the quality of the roads is not affected by rogue transporters.
Tanzania’s Minister of Works, Transport and Communications, Eng Isack Kamwelwe, said on Wednesday last week that the enforcement will also maintain the quality and standard of the roads.
Kamwelwe said, “I was sworn-in to ensure that all laws under the ministry are observed. This is serious and I personally will ensure that the law is enforced.”
Under the VLC Act, overloaded vehicles will attract penalties of USD 15,000 which is the equivalent of Tshs 35m. Those found culpable will, if unable to raise the fine, be jailed for three years.
Currently, transporters with overloaded vehicles pay a USD 2,000 fine.
Kamwelwe was speaking during the foundation stone laying by President John Magufuli of the Morogoro Road from Kimara-Kibaha to eight lanes.
Under the project, the road expansion will cover 19.2 kilometres which is expected to ease congestion for vehicles entering Dar es Salaam and those heading to the countryside.
“The project was constructed through domestic revenue and it will facilitate economic activities for the greater interest of the country,” he added.
So far, Tshs 21.1b has been paid to Estim Construction Ltd, a contractor.
According to the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) Chief Executive Officer Eng Patrick Mfugale, the money is an advance payment to the contractor while another Tshs 86m has been paid to a consultant engineer.
The expansion will see the road have two lanes at the centre which will be used by the upcountry routes buses while cargo trucks and private cars will use the three lanes on both sides upon completion.
In total, the stretch will have 36 bridges of different sizes.
With the success of raising revenues from penalties elsewhere in Tanzania, the VLC Act could not have come at a better time.
In Shinyanga, for example, the traffic police department has collected more than Tshs 1bn from penalties given between January and October 2018.
Shinyanga Regional Police Commander (RPC), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Simon Haule said last week that the traffic police department collected Tshs 1,475,760,000 as fines for 49,192 offences.
Haule said that the fines were in trying to control and reduce the number of accidents, over speeding and overloading.
With the surveillance on the roads, Huale says they have managed to reduce accidents from 178 last year to only 74 so far this year.
In the same period this year, Huale said they have managed to test 2193 drivers and inspect 7920 vehicles.
The infrastructure projects that Tanzania is undertaking include the construction of the ultra- modern Mbezi Luis bus terminal at a cost of more than Tshs 50bn.
On completion, multiple services will be available to commuters using the bus terminal.
Another bus terminal Boko Basihaya will also benefit from the upgrade under the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport (DART) project.