With effect from the 1st March 2011 the Botswana Police will not run after road traffic offenders over outstanding fines. The new vehicle flagging system, which comes into effect, is expected to do the job of forcing the offenders to pay their fines.
Briefing the media on this new system, the Minister of Road Transport and Safety, Frank Ramsden, said, “This flagging exercise will assist in minimizing traffic offences and creating responsible motorists to help curb the high numbers of road crashes on which have been claimed a number of our citizens.”
He added that the unfortunate thing is that while people continue committing offences, they are not as keen to settle their fines.
“This has drained government resources in that police officers have to follow offenders in a bid for them to pay their penalties,” he said.
The regulations were developed and came into effect on the 17th December 2010.
“We could not, however, implement immediately because we had to set the ground for such implementation but the system is expected to begin on 1st March 2011.”
The new system is such that Botswana police will put a mark against the registration details of a vehicle for purposes of alerting Department of Road Transport and Safety licensing officer that the owner or driver of the vehicle in question has outstanding fine owed to the government. The consequence of this system will prevent any transaction in relation to the vehicle.
According to the new system Cancellation of flag mark will only be done if the outstanding fine has been paid off, the case has been withdrawn against the offender and when an investigation shows that the alleged offender is a foreigner and has since left the country.
The flagging of the vehicle will be done after 21 days upon the offence has been committed if the offender in question has failed to pay the penalty thereof.
In the same vein the Commissioner of Botswana Police, Thebeyame Tsimako, said the system is not meant to punish the offenders but rather ensure that they are held responsible for their actions. Tsimako said there is a lot of misconduct in our roads and this system will deal with it.
“With the new system, our offices will not spend more time and resources chasing after offenders who haven’t paid their fines,” he said.