The Observer (Kampala)

13 November 2012

Uganda: For Once, Let Us Enjoy Accident-Free Holidays

About 30 people have been admitted to Mbarara hospital following an accident that left four people dead. The accident occurred after a double cabin ... ( Resource: Uganda: Mbarara Hospital overwhelmed with Injured victims

editorial

A campaign for a festive season free of accidents has been launched in Kampala:

The week-long campaign aims to reverse the previous trend of road accidents increasing towards the end-of-year holidays. Uganda's road carnage is already unacceptable but over the last couple of months the number of road accidents and the fatalities registered have been mindboggling, to say the least.

Fortunately, research conducted by the police suggests that most of those accidents are a result of human error. In other words, they can be avoided. Unfortunately, we the road users have been unable to avoid them as much as we should, leading to staggering losses in terms of life and property.

During the launch of the latest campaign targeting road accidents on Monday, the traffic police and ministry of Works and Transport officials announced a new set of measures that they hope will help reverse the status quo. The campaign includes 'Report Bad Driving' stickers and toll-free telephone numbers to report reckless drivers.

There is also a suggestion that only adults aged at least 25 should drive passenger vehicles. While we are not really convinced about this idea, as we have not come across evidence to suggest that more road accidents are caused by drivers below that age, we would support any reasonable measure that can rein in the scourge.

The campaign, according to the traffic police, will also see drivers tested for both their competence and mental health, something we have advocated for for a long time. On top of that, badges are to be introduced for Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV) drivers, after being vetted by the police. Drivers with a poor record would stand to lose theirs.

These are fantastic ideas, indeed. However, the problem here has never been ideas; it has been implementation of those ideas. It is, therefore, critical that for once these measures are put into effect so that road accidents can be minimized. Indeed, let's for once have a festive season devoid of tears arising from road accidents. It's in everyone's power to ensure that happens.

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