Last Updated on: 26th December 2022, 08:47 pm
Dozens of deaths due to road crashes have been recorded before, on Christmas Day through Boxing Day in Uganda. The East African country’s road crash figures are alarming, and the highest in the region.
According to the Police’s Annual Crime and Road Safety Report of 2021, over 80 per cent of crashes are consistently linked to careless and reckless driving.
The same report also indicates that 3,500 people are killed in road crashes yearly for over 5 years now. This means, by 2032 Uganda will have lost 35,000 people on the roads.
“Uganda’s road carnage continues to escalate! Death on our roads by far exceeds deaths in wars & other violent causes,” Uganda’s opposition figure, Dr Kizza Besigye said.
Besigye made the above remark after a deadly crash on the Kampala-Masaka road that left five dead and scores wounded on Boxing Day.
“Addressing this ought to occupy a very high priority. Especially, improving road designs and management; certifying drivers/riders, the fitness of vehicles, policing etc.,” he added.
The spokesperson of the traffic and road safety directorate at Uganda Police, ASP Faridha Nampiima, said on Monday that the suspected cause of the Kampala-Masaka crash was speeding by both vehicles.
“Both vehicles were coming from the same direction. The Mercedes Benz was overtaking at a terrible speed and the driver lost control and knocked the Toyota Hiace which went off-road and both vehicles overturned,” she added.
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What is being done, and what are the demands?
Annually, the Inspector of Vehicles (IoV) issues over 150,000 driving licenses to “trained drivers”. Out of the thousands, more than 65,000 are issued to drivers who drive passenger service vehicles (PSVs) and cargo vehicles.
According to Ibrahim Kayondo, the Secretary General of the United Bus Drivers’ Association, there are no driving schools in Uganda.
Kayondo, who was talking to 15 journalists selected by the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) for training on Reporting on Road Safety in Uganda last year, added that the county’s transport industry is “liberalized,” adding that most drivers are “paid less”.
What are his demands? The veteran driver wants the government to regulate the transport industry and establishment of competent driving schools.
Back to the report, the 2018 report by the United Nations Road Safety Performance Review for Uganda indicated grave issues with the driving training standards. The UN body declared it dysfunctional.
Addressing a media conference on December 20, Works and Transport Minister General Edward Katumba Wamala said enforcement of traffic laws and regulations would be enhanced during the festive season.
The drivers who commit serious offences, he said will be arrested and produced before courts of law while others will be detained for 2 hours.
He also said passengers would be sensitized about the traffic laws before they are left to proceed with the journey.