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Minor traffic offenders to start paying instant fines

Motorists cited for minor traffic offences will no longer have to go to court thanks to plans to begin levying instant roadside fines from November.

National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) director-general Francis Meja says the transport regulator is preparing to gazette various violations and the fines that will go with each.

The authority will then introduce an electronic payment system, including mobile settlement, to reduce cash dealings between motorists and the police.

Currently, motorists caught in traffic offences must face the courts, a process that is time-consuming and has been blamed for corruption on the roads and at the courts.

Section 117 of the Traffic Act allows for payment of instant fines but this is yet to take effect due to lack of offences and corresponding fixed penalties.

“This means that the Cabinet secretary shall list the common minor offences in a schedule and the corresponding fixed fine provided that such fine does not exceed what the Traffic Act prescribes as the maximum amount,” Mr Meja said.

The NTSA is working on the list together with the Judiciary, the Attorney General and the Police before it is forwarded to the Transport secretary who will gazette it.

Mr Meja said that a lot of time and resources are wasted by minor traffic offenders, the police and the court in prosecution.

“It is not uncommon for an offender to spend an entire morning at the law courts only to be slapped with a fine of Sh500 for a minor offence,” he added.

This inconvenience and the fear of courts has spurred payment of bribes to police officers.

For those who contest the charge, the new system will allow instant payment of a fixed amount for bail, pending their day in court.

“This process would be convenient, cost-efficient and transparent for all the parties involved, which will materially dis-incentivise corruption,” Mr Meja said, adding that revenue collection will also improve.