ROAD SAFETY: Bukoto Central Member of Parliament Eng. Hon. Richard Sebamala has advised government of Uganda to heavily invest in four Key Priority areas to curb road accidents in the country.
This was during a meeting held between members of the Parliamentary Forum on Road Safety and civil society group-Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA) at Parliament on Wednesday 15 February 2023.
Hon. Sebamala who doubles as a professional Civil Engineer said that government should;
- Start a National Driving school to train drivers in uniformity driving. He said in Uganda most of the drivers learn driving using friends or family vehicles and later just jump to drive on the National highways thus causing accidents. He said there is need for such a school to train uniformity in handling of vehicles and using the road signage.
- Emergence Response. He said there is need for government to install emergency response Ambulances at black spots and all highways to offer emergency rescue in case an accident occurs. He said a number of people loose lives during accidents just because of the delayed response to save live. He adds that even the public should be trained on how to offer first aid during emergencies.
- Engineering Component. He said that govt should consider observing the Engineering component before and after constructing roads to check whether the designs suit the costs gazatted. He said many contractors construct sub standard roads without anyone to monitor their services where at the end many roads are built without separating walk ways and riding lanes from driving lanes.
- Enforcement. He said govt should enforce the available laws where every driver is required to drive a well serviced vehicle with a driving permit. He said even pedestrians need to be trained on how to use the road and drivers also be trained on how to handle third parties on the road. He adds that even enforcement officers should be well facilitated by government to curb the high rates of corruption on the road where instead of taking appropriate actions on poor drivers they just take a few coins from them and allow them to proceed
Eng. Sebamala said that government should Prioritise road safety as it does on other key areas like HIV prevention, Environment and Security.
“Road safety should be talked about everywhere in schools, hospitals, churches, Mosques, village meetings etc. with clear messages to remind the population on how to use the road and also use the CCTV cameras to monitor and take action on bad drivers. All countries that have invested heavily in public road infrastructure have reduced pressure on public roads, thus curbing road accidents.” Hon Sebamala said.
Hon Robert Kasolo (NRM, Iki-Iki County) blamed key stakeholders for failing to Prioritise road safety in Uganda.
“We need to throw in our weight and say enough is enough, this road safety issue must be handled like any other epidemic. We must rise up and say considering the numbers that perish on the roads, we must handle this issue as an epidemic,” Hon Kasolo said, adding that road safety has been stifled by the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development.
“Parliament has internalized the issue of road safety but the Ministry of Finance does not understand it completely. They have allocated road safety only Shs600 million…You really see this is peanuts and even what has been allocated in the budget may not even be released,” he said.
Hon Sarah Opendi (NRM, Tororo District) said the country has clear regulations that bar boda bodas from carrying children below 12 years. “A boda boda is supposed to carry one passenger, but aren’t we seeing some carrying five passengers?” she asked
Napak Woman MP Hon Faith Nakut said that if government had established a robust public transport system, citizens would not be risking their lives in mechanically-impaired vehicles and risky boda bodas.
Quoting a recent survey, Godfrey Mwesigye, Manager Research and Documentation at CEPA said on average, 45-70 victims of road accidents are received at Mulago National Referral Hospital on a daily basis.
The 2022 Annual Crime Report by Uganda Police Force reported a 42 percent increase in the number of crashes from 12,249 in 2020 to 17,443 in 2021.
Parliament of Uganda