Motorists now face instant fines

The transport regulator is now free to introduce instant fines for minor traffic offences after the High Court dismissed a suit seeking to block the penalties ranging from Sh500 to Sh10,000.

Traffic on Nairobi-Thika highway. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

IN SUMMARY

  • NTSA rules introduced instant fines ranging from Sh500 to Sh10,000 for offences such as talking on the phone while driving or exceeding speed limits.
  • The Kenya National Union of Co-operative Staff sued the NTSA claiming the rules judges motorists in breach before their trial in court.
  • Justice John Mativo has ruled that the union failed to prove that the rules guiding the instant fines are unreasonable and unjustified, noting that the fines are meant to save time for the offender and justice system

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The transport regulator is now free to introduce instant fines for minor traffic offences after the High Court dismissed a suit seeking to block the penalties ranging from Sh500 to Sh10,000.

Justice John Mativo ruled that the Kenya National Union of Co-operative Staff failed to prove that the rules guiding the instant fines are unreasonable and unjustified, noting that the fines are meant to save time for the offender and justice system

The union sued the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and Transport secretary James Macharia claiming the rules judges motorists in breach before their trial in court.

The rules introduced instant fines ranging from Sh500 to Sh10,000 for offences such as talking on the phone while driving or exceeding speed limits.

“I am afraid, the ex parte applicant has not demonstrated unlawfulness, unreasonableness or procedural impropriety in the enactment of the rules or their illegality or non-conformity with the parent statute, the statutory instruments Act or any other legislation or the constitution,” ruled the judge.

The Judge noted that the offender has the right to plead not guilty after which he or she can be granted instant bail and attend court at a later date for trial.

The judgment means motorists will also no longer be arrested, have their vehicles towed to police stations or pay fines in cash in fresh efforts to reduce corruption and restore sanity on Kenyan roads.

The instant fines were gazetted on September 23, 2016 , but suspended by court pending the hearing and determination of the case filed by the union.

According to the rules, motorists who exceed the speed limit by between six and 10 kilometres per hour (kph) are fined Sh500.

Exceeding the speed limit by between 11 and 15 kph attracts a Sh3,000 fine and Sh10,000 between 16 and 20kph.

Motorists exceeding the speed limit set for their vehicles by between one and five kph receive a warning. The new rules have not spared pedestrians who will pay Sh500 for “obstructing free passage of vehicles,” a rule that is seen to discourage crossing roads at non-designated places.

Currently, motorists caught committing traffic offences must face the courts.

Failure to fit passenger vehicles with speed governors will attract a Sh10,000 fine while passengers who fail to fasten t belts will be charged Sh500.

The NTSA rules also provide for a Sh1,000 fine on people who leave a part of their body outside a moving vehicle, a rule that is expected to tame touts who regularly hang on doors of moving public vehicles.

Motorcycle passengers without protective gear will be liable for a fine of Sh1,000, same as the bike riders.

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