New Vision (Kampala)

22 November 2012

Uganda: Road Accidents Claimed 3343 Lives Last Year

After a protracted debate on Wednesday during which one MP after another vented out anger against government for failing to curb high road accidents in the country, parliament passed a motion instructing the executive to take immediate measures to address the problem.

Statistics from Uganda police show that in 2010 and 2011, there were 2954 and 3343 people respectively who died due to road accidents, showing a 13.2 percentage increase.

In the motion which was moved by Serere woman MP Alice Alaso, parliament called for urgent measures which should be undertaken by government which included a demand that government presents to parliament an action plan for the implementation of the UN resolution on the decade of action on road safety.

In the motion, which was supported by all the MPs and all the ministers present, Parliament instructed the ministry of works and transport to present to parliament the road safety policy and strategic plan within one month.

The motion also requires the ministry of works and transport to lay before parliament the drafting principles for the establishment of the National Road Safety Authority and make a commitment it will be implemented in the next financial year.

Government was requested to ensure enforcement of existing laws and regulations under the Traffic and Road Safety Act; especially for the use of crash helmets, seat belts, reflective night wear and vehicle inspection.

The motion also requires government to review the Traffic and Road Safety Act to take care of all issues relevant for road safety promotion in Uganda.

The MPs also called for the operationalization and funding of the activities of the National Road Safety Council as a transitional measure awaiting the creation of an autonomous lead agency for road safety.

The intervention parliament passed was the requirement to put in place a mechanism for standardization of the training of passenger service vehicle drivers.

The motion instructed the ministry of health to put in place adequate and effective trauma and healthcare facilities on highways and for the orthopedics and neurosurgery departments in the national and referral hospitals and effective post crush evacuation mechanisms.

They also called upon government to develop an integrated information system that supports the promotion of road safety in the country.

The other resolution was on stringent regulations for drivers but the works minister Eng. Abraham Byandala explained the new statutory instrument he recently signed to regulate drivers would cater for that.

Other key issues which emerged during the debate on the motion are the need for a public campaign on road safety to change behavioral change, the need to widen Uganda's narrow roads and improving the country's road network.

Byandala, who equally expressed anger at Uganda's high road carnage which is the third highest in the world, explained with statistics which indicate that human errors of drivers involving reckless driving, careless driving, over speeding, overloading, and driving under the influence of alcohol are responsible for more than 80% of the accidents in Uganda.

The minister said careless driving causes 41.5% of the accidents, reckless driving causes 29.3% of the accidents, over speeding causes 3.7%, careless pedestrians cause 3.9%, driving under the influence of alcohol contribute 1%, poor mechanical condition of the cars cause 3.2% and the poor state of the roads causes 5% of the accidents which occur in Uganda.

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