On the Lookout for Erring Motorists

The ‘Third Generation’ gendarmerie road safety campaign was on the Yaounde-Boumnyebel highway over the weekend.

Gendarmerie authorities in Nyong and Kelle Division of the Centre Region are not letting off the heat on erring motorists since the launch at the beginning of March 2015 of the ‘Third Generation’ road safety campaign.

Major General Simon Pierre Dagafounangsou, the Commander of the First Gendarmerie Region, led a team of gendarmes to the field on Saturday, May 2, 2015. He was accompanied by Colonels Hiack Magloire Roger and Abondo Ze Evina Etienne from the National Gendarmerie Headquarters, Yaounde. Explaining the raison d’ecirctre of the renewed offensive against highway indiscipline, Gen. Dagafounangsou said it was noticed that people had relapsed into their old habits after earlier campaigns.

The specificity with the latest onslaught is that vehicles are searched with metal detectors for arms, offending motorists compelled to pay heavy fines on the spot or taken to court, vehicles impounded and their drivers in some instances detained. Moreover, mobile teams armed with radars to detect over-speeding are deployed along stretches of the highway to catch erring drivers off-guard. Last week’s safety campaign focused on the Ngoung-Mahoule-St Andreacute Hospital, Pouma junction in Nyong and Kelle Division – a distance of about 75 km.

At Ngoung, about 15 km from Boumnyebel – the headquarters of the road safety team – the driver of a Toyota Prado jeep paid the fine of FCFA 25,000 for over-speeding, but the owner of Toyota pick-up van was not convinced when he was told that he was caught on radar some 2 km from Ngoung driving above the 60-km speed limit. He reluctantly paid the fine after returning to the scene to confirm the speed limit clearly indicated on the sign post. Meanwhile, another gentleman who initially contemplated going to court over his refusal to pay the FCFA 25,000 fine for over-speeding finally obliged after he was warned of possible delays in getting the matter settled promptly.

But what was perhaps the most interesting demonstration of personal responsibility was when Smith Abanda, the driver of a Toyota pick-up van with registration number NW 275 AV, owned up and willingly accepted to pay the FCFA 25,000 over-speeding fine from his pocket in the presence of his boss. The incident happened at the St Andreacute Hospital, Pouma junction, some 127 km from Yaounde and 53 km to Edea. According to ‘Adjudant Chef Major’ Engozo’o Ella Thomas, the head of the Gendarmerie Highway Traffic Unit at Boumnyebel, the campaign is raising more funds for the public treasury as his men are stricter in enforcing the law. For example, he disclosed that over FCFA 50 million has been raised from fines in the last two months – with an average of FCFA 6 million collected in the division each week.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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