By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Traffic police has attributed increasing road accidents to unlicensed drivers, Poor Roads and vehicle maintenance by unskilled mechanics.
This Swell in road accidents nationwide is also motivation behind the government of phasing out the now in use booklet type drivers license that shall cease to be a legal document in Somaliland come 1st January 2014.
This was informed by the minister of public works and public housing Abdirizaq Khalif during an inter-agency function in Hargeisa where a new generation of Drivers license was unveiled.
“As from 1st January 2014 every person driving a car within Somaliland shall be obliged to have acquired the new driving license that replacing the existing old fashioned one in use” said Minister Abdirizaq
While urging licensed drivers or those currently driving illegally to acquire the now launched new type license the public works minister also warned those caught contravening the order as of 1st Jan 2015 shall be liable for prosecution in a court of law.
While the soon to be extinct drivers license in use is a cumbersome document designed in a booklet form and containing several pages the new one is a simple plastic ID card like and has the advantage of its data being computerized thence ease of access.
Flanked by the director General at his ministry, Prosecutor General, chair of the national tender board, national traffic commander among other state officials and representatives from Somaliland ID Cards ltd the company that had the new Drivers license contract Minister Abdirizaq declared the new document as available in all relevant offices nationwide.
All the various officials who addressed the function were in unionism as to the urgency required from all stakeholders in curbing the increase in road accidents that usually results in loss of lives, maiming and damage to property.
According to traffic police road accidents in the country are not only caused by the large cadre of citizens joining the middle class ranks thence attendant car ownership which is a status symbol of affluence in Africa but several other complex factors as well.
According to the commander of the Somaliland traffic police Colonel Feisal Hiis “Ever increasing numbers of unlicensed drivers, Poor Roads and use of unskilled mechanics for maintainers’ are also major causes attributed to the many instances of fatal road accidents now occurring nationwide almost on a daily basis’
While the new look e-drivers license comes with ease of replacement and handling for drivers it also introduces for the first time classification of drivers into classes A,B and C that denote what type of wheels one is licensed to drive.
While it is hoped that the introduction of this document shall not only help reduce road accidents but instill traffic rules discipline among drivers especially among Public service transporters as well anticipation is high that the traffic law enforcers themselves, cops, shall utilize their training and subsequent discipline related to their duties.
it is not surprising anywhere in the big towns of Somaliland to see traffic police stop a car in the middle of the street for whatever reason thus cause unnecessary jams that do not only constrain motorists but help increase maintaining costs not to mention large consumption of fuel.
Hopefully too January 2015 shall negate the now famous adage that goes “In front of every traffic jam in Hargeisa there is a traffic cop”