Last Updated on: 7th April 2023, 09:39 pm
Major causes of road crashes in Uganda are always attributed to driving under influence of alcohol, speeding, non-use of seatbelts, and driving or riding while on phone, among other factors.
For example, according to the Police Annual Crime and Road Safety Report of 2020, drink driving contributed to 0.4 percent of total road crashes.
Further, according to the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998 and amended in 2020, driving under the influence of alcohol above the recommended limit (80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood) attracts a fine not exceeding 300 currency points (shs6m) or imprisonment of not more than 3 years or both.
Currently, between 10 to 12 people die on Ugandan roads daily, a trend many think will not change abruptly. Festive periods contribute the highest crash figures.
Between December 30, 2022, to January 1, 2023, according to ASP Faridah Nampiima, PRO of the Traffic and Road Safety Directorate at Uganda Police, 104 road crashes were recorded. Of the figures, 35 people died and 114 sustained serious injuries.
On January 1 to 8, 2023, 340 crashes were recorded of which 79 were killed and 245 injured, added Nampiima. She attributed the causes to careless driving, driving while using the phones, and speeding.
Sixteen (16) of those who died as aforementioned were part of a fatal crash on January 6, 2023, when a bus heading to Gulu from Kampala rammed into a stationary truck at Adebe, Kamdini sub-county, a few kilometers from Karuma bridge.
On March 29, a senior UPDF officer perished in a fatal road crash and two people were rushed to Iganga hospital in critical condition. According to Police, Maj. Alex Aceta who was attached to Olilim Training School died along the Mbale-Iganga highway.
The crash involved two vehicles, a TX prado that was being driven by a 51-year-old Warrant Officer Mathias Ssefozola, also attached to Oilim Training School. According to ASP Namiipma, the driver lost control of the car leading to the crash.
In a statement issued by Nampiima on April 1, 2023, she said the traffic police at Buloba Police station “have today evening 01/04/2023 at around 20:00/c registered a fatal accident at Buloba Forest Park which has claimed lives of five people”.
“Preliminary findings indicate that motor vehicle registration number UAX628S Scania loaded with parked water from Kampala side heading to Mityana had a tyre Burst and lost control and rammed into five motor vehicles; UBE613E Toyota Hiace , UAR 175W Isuzu Elf, UAX783F Mitsubishi Pajero, and UFL 384D Bajaj Boxer, killing five people on spot.”
Among the dead were passengers from motor vehicle Reg No. UAV 515J, the other two from UBE 613E Toyota Hiace, and the fifth was the Bodaboda rider.
“Unidentified numbers of victims have been rushed to Mulago Hospital for medical help. Inquiries into the matter are underway and more details will be availed in due course,” she announced.
Why controlling speed is significant?
According to the World Bank, managing speed saves lives and devastating injuries, including increasing efficiency, vehicles’’ low maintenance costs, and fuel costs.
A driver who manages his speed will help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is assisting in the fight against climate change.
What the law says, continued!
Wearing of safety belts Regulations, 2004, Sec., 178 (2) (g) of the Traffic and Road Safety Act, Cap 361 says, no motor vehicle shall be registered and licensed to carry passengers unless all the seats are fitted with safety belts as authorized by the minister.
It adds that each safety belt, including its anchorage, adjusting device, and fastenings shall be maintained free from any defect which would adversely affect its performance as a restraining device.
“I feel uncomfortable wearing a seatbelt whenever I am driving. It’s a big mandate for me and us drivers but I still don’t use it often,” says a bus driver plying the Kampala-Gulu route, when asked by TND News in mid-March.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of this, he added that: “Police see us and let us go. Maybe that is why many of us don’t care to wear it.”