Crash

Exclusive: Lack of Good Samaritan Law linked to increased road crash fatalities in Uganda

(Last Updated On: 2 February 2023)

Uganda is one of the countries in the world aiming to reduce road crash fatalities and injuries under a universal program dubbed “Multi-Country road safety program (2020-2025).

This US$240m program is funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety.

Today, 12 people get killed on the roads, and dozens are left wounded. The Uganda Police Annual Crime and Road Safety Report of 2021 shows that there was an increase of 42% in the number of road crashes from 12,249 in 2020 to 17,443 in 2021.

In the same year (2021), 3,3757 people lost their lives compared to 3,269 in 2020.

Whereas after the crash some of the victims’ lives can be saved by the help of first responders or eyewitnesses, this response is not promising, expert says.

In many cases, though, victims have to wait for the Police or emergency care providers like the Red Cross to evacuate them to hospitals. Some are evacuated by boda bodas.

What must be done, and why? Recently, I spoke to the Executive Director of Vision for Trauma Care in Africa (VTCA), Muwaga Hannington about handling road crash victims and a lack of an important law.

He said his organization is advocating for road safety by offering training to boda bodas on first aid, and health education as well as equipping them with kits to handle emergencies.

He describes boda-bodas as the “most vulnerable and the most mode of transport in our community”.

Muwaga observed that the lack of Good Samaritan Law in Uganda is making it difficult for lives to be saved. “We need to tell our policymakers that people need to be supported.”

According to a UN report, those who die as a result of road crashes in Uganda are in their productive ages.

“The government should involve youth and stop blame games and promote road safety,” Muwaga added.

“We need to develop aero-medical ambulances. The health centres should be functional with all equipment, not just branding.”

A report by Uganda Safety Holdings in August 2018 found that 50% of crash-related deaths are associated with a slow response when crashes occur.

Good Samaritan Law 

This law, available in some countries and yet to be introduced in Africa, offers legal protection to utmost conduct of good faith by people who give reasonable assistance voluntarily in an emergency to a stranger injured, ill, in peril, or incapacitated.

Crash

A section of boda-boda riders in Mukono trained and equipped to manage road crash emergencies. Courtesy photo.


In 2019, the Ministry of Health was reported to have said they were pushing for the introduction of this law to effectively handle road emergencies.

Asked if the ministry is coming up with this law soon, or if it’s a responsibility of others, the senior public relations officer in the ministry of health, Emmanuel Ainebyoona said, “I need to get from the. policy analysts if that is the law to be introduced. I’ll get back to you tomorrow (Friday).”

An exclusive interview on this can be read here 

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