New Vision (Kampala)

24 December 2012

Uganda: Only Behaviour Change Can Stop Road Carnage

opinion

More than 2,000 people die every year in traffic accidents on Ugandan roads and almost 10,000 in East Africa.

This number is bigger than that of malaria, HIV/AIDS plus Marburg and Ebola combined. This number can easily double if nothing is done now to stop the carnage.

Most of the road accidents are preventable. The poor road safety culture and failure to strictly enforce traffic rules are chiefly to blame for the high accidents causality rate.

Statistics indicate that Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania have some of the highest road accident fatality rates globally.

Take for instance, the last three months, carnage on our roads has been attributed on human error. Yes, the roads are narrow but no vehicle can refuse to break or stop because the road is narrow.

World Health Organization figures reveal that 90% of the road fatalities occur in low and middle- income countries, home to less than half of the world's registered vehicles. The number of road fatalities is set to double by 2020 globally.

WHO has singled out road accidents as a major public health problem in developing nations.

Essentially, this means that fatalities are no longer regarded as mere Government statistics but a serious public health and development challenge requiring urgent concerted global action.

In Uganda, majority of the accidents involve buses, matatus and now increasingly boda bodas.

Writer is a Pan-Africanist. 

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