President Yoweri Museveni has said that he would consider starting a road safety campaign to address the rampant road accidents in the country.
The President made the remarks last evening at State House, Entebbe after receiving the Road Safety Performance Review Report on Uganda from Mr. Jean Todt, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety.
"Africans are very reckless and are tired of life. We shall campaign for road safety like we did for HIV/AIDS," the President said.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed a Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) to stabilize and reduce the forecast level of road traffic deaths around the world. Uganda was one of the two pilot countries selected in the region for the road safety performance review.
Mr. Todt expressed concern over the alarming rate of death in accidents on Ugandan roads adding that road crashes cost the Government of Uganda Shs.4.4 trillion (US$1.2 billion) annually which, he observed, represents 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
"On average, Uganda loses 10 people per day in road traffic crashes, which is the highest in East Africa," said Mr. Todt as he handed over the report on Uganda to President Museveni last evening at State House, Entebbe.
Given the high road-crash rate, Mr. Todt recommended a robust emergency response and care system to address the high number of road injuries in Uganda. "The government should address the capacity constraints of the relevant institutions engaged in road safety management so that they can address the severe road crash challenge," he said.
Mr. Todt further recommended that the Government of Uganda should prioritize road safety and focus on the provision of technical assistance, financial and political commitment to optimize the benefits of the investment made in the development of road transport infrastructure.
Reports indicate that in the last decade, the recorded road crash fatalities in Uganda rose from 2,579 to 3,503 in 2016 representing 25.9%. This is a result of weak leadership for road safety, declining priority of allocation of resources and diminishing capacity for road safety interventions mainly driven by low commitment to road safety matters, reduced interest of development partners in road safety and non participation of key stakeholders
According to the United Nations statistics, nearly 1.25 million people are killed and up to 50 million people are injured on the world's roads every year.
State Minister for Transport, Mr. Aggrey Henry Bagiire and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Uganda, Ms. Rosa Malongo, attended the meeting.