Last Updated on: 26th February 2023, 12:58 pm
The North Kyoga Regional traffic and road safety department has started to respond swiftly in a bid to minimize cases of road crashes this year. The region came on top of the Uganda Police’s Annual Crimes and Road Safety Report for the year 2022.
The strict measures and focus will be more on motorcycle riders and drivers whom traffic officials say will help in reducing road crashes and promoting road safety in the region.
The stringent measures will ensure routine road checks, ensuring vehicles and motorcycles are in good mechanical condition; use of third-party insurance, checking for riding and driving permits; helmets and seatbelts, reflector jackets, and road discipline, among all users.
According to the report overview, 20,394 accidents involving 21, 473 people were registered in the year 2022 under review. Of the 21, 473 victims, 15,227 escaped with serious injuries while 1,712 sustained minor injuries.
Reading the report last week on behalf of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Director of Traffic Police Lawrence Nuwabine said that 47 people died as a result of a tyre burst on the road.
He also reported that 4,534 people died in 3,901 road crashes in the same year across the country, with the report further showing that most road crashes were recorded between 7 pm and 8 pm, which was attributed to fatigue among road users.
There was also a spike in crashes during the festive season. For instance, 55 people died in road crashes in four days of the 206 crashes recorded between December, 23 and 26, 2022.
Shocking to note was that North Kyoga came on top in the report. Out of the 28 Policing Regions in Uganda, the region, consisting of more than eight districts making up the Lango sub-region registered the highest number of cases (17,605) followed by Kampala Metropolitan North with 16,691 cases.
Kampala Metropolitan South came third with 14,492 cases, among other regions.
Speaking to TND News a few days after the report was released; Superintendent of Police (SP) Mathias Okwir who is the Regional Traffic Officer (RTO) for North Kyoga Region had this to say. “What is killing the boda boda is because they lack knowledge on how to use the road and this has prompted the police traffic department in the region to put stringent measures on road safety and rule.”
Okwir revealed that on average, 90% of the crashes that occur within the region are caused by bodaboda riders and only 10% are by vehicles.
“We believe that the strict measures will help to reduce the rampant road crashes caused by the riders because at some point, we find a number of riders and drivers guilty of committing some of the most common causes of traffic crashes,” said Okwir
SP Okwir, however, called upon all the road users to take charge of their safety and not only think it is the role of the police to do so.
“Much as police officers are trying to make sure people are complying with the traffic rules, it also needs a joint effort by the road users to ensure everyone is safe,” he added during an interview.
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He continued that training (community policing) will continue to equip people with knowledge and also they will have access to driving and riding permits from Lango. This, he reveals will be available in two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Lira City boda-boda Association Sam Odongo has decried the continuity of high level of crashes in Lira City. He said many have relaxed on putting on reflector jackets, helmets, and protective shoes.
“When the office of the Regional Traffic Office (RTO) for North Kyoga came out with enforcement on putting on equipment last year, the rates of road crashes reduced. At the moment, motorcyclists have relaxed on following traffic rules and putting on their equipment, hence increasing the rate of crashes,” added Odongo.
He said only 30% out of 100 are putting on the reflector jackets. “There is a need to summon all the boda-boda cyclists for questioning on why they are not putting it on yet it is for their safety.”
Odongo further appealed to the cyclists to always follow traffic rules and put safety gadgets to help save their lives and the road users.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 36,560 people were killed on the roads in 2018 and 2.71 million accident victims sustained injuries that required a visit to a medical professional.
Also, according to the Annual Crime Report of 2022 which was compiled by the Directorate of Traffic Police, an average of 12 lives perished daily in road crashes in Uganda.
The department says the above worrying figures prompted it to create a data analysis center to inform its enforcement strategy and tactics.