July 16, 2013

Truck Drivers on the Spot as UNRA Begins Axle Load Crack Down

Most of the trucks that ferry construction materials in Kampala and several places across the country are in breach of the axle load control standards, Uganda National Roads Authority has revealed.

According to UNRA, second hand Isuzu and Fuso trucks imported from Japan are re-modified at Katwe so as carry more load than they are intended. Ibrahim Kassita, a weigh bridge controller at Uganda National Roads Authority says such trucks hauling stones and sand to construction sites have had a damaging effect on the roads.

He says UNRA has commenced the enforcement of the traffic and Road Safety (weighbridges) regulations to ensure that truck drivers abide by the axle load controls.

An axle load is the acceptable weight limit for goods a vehicle is allowed to carry. The traffic and Road Safety law requires truck hauling goods from weight of 3.5 tonnes to be subjected to axle load control. Kassita however says that most of the trucks in Kampala as well as those ferrying limestone to Cement industries have not been  going through the weigh bridges yet they have a damaging effect on the roads.

Some of the trucks according to Kasiita are loaded with more than seventy five percent of the permitted weight on the road. Now, drivers face about half a million shillings fine or two years imprisonment if they don’t abide by the axle load regulations. The regulations also provide that court may order the owner of the truck to forfeit it.

Truck driver ferrying sand on Entebbe and Masaka Highways always carry almost twice the permitted load. The extra sand is later offloaded and sold separately. Livingstone Nyanzi, a truck driver also General Secretary at Kireka Lorry Park told local media that almost all drivers at his park overload the trucks. He says they cannot break even if they don’t overload their trucks.

He says besides the high fuel costs, the drivers have a weekly amount of money to pay the truck owners as wells as meeting other maintenance costs. Abdallah Lule, a driver with Numungoona Truckers asked UNRA to be lenient with small Trucks. He like Nyanzi says they are forced to overload if they are to earn something for themselves.

Lule wants Uganda National Road Authority to enforce the regulations on big trailers.

Ibrahim Kasita however insists the law has to be applied on all trucks with 3.5 tonnes weight and above. He says enforcement of axle load would not only save on the roads but also save over one trillion shillings used on maintenance and repair of roads annually.

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