WE ARE HAVING MANY ACCIDENTS ON OUR ROADS. CAN DRIVERS GAIN RESPONSIBILITY IN 2016 AND AMONG OTHER THINGS STOP DRIVING WHILE ON PHONE?
Ugandan road accidents - more causes for alarm
Uganda is one of the African countries with the highest rate of road accidents, a World Health Organisation report on road safety says. Uganda is reputed also to be among the highest rate of road accidents among the East African countries and deaths from reckless driving are also on increase leading cause of death in Uganda. The East African Bribery Index, conducted recently, mentioned is a governance tool developed to measure bribery levels in the private and public sectors in the region. Bribery prevalence in Uganda remains high.
Insurers are lobbying for the reform of laws on compulsory insurances (Motor Third Party Insurance. Police Sensitization workshops These workshops were conducted mainly to sensitize the Police on Third Party Insurance with emphasis on the role it plays in enforcing this insurance. The Police agreed to upscale the inspections, but also requested that insurers pay claims promptly, for the benefit of the accident victims. According to the press statement from WHOnotes that only 28 countries, covering seven per cent of the world’s population, have comprehensive road safety laws on five key risk factors of drink driving, speeding, failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints. The police moved also to arrest drunk pedestrians. Political will is needed at the highest level of government to ensure appropriate road safety legislation and stringent enforcement of laws by which we all need to abide. If this cannot be ensured, families and communities will continue to grieve, and health systems will continue to bear the brunt of injury and disability due to road traffic crashes.
These countries must reduce their road deaths considerably if the region is to realise a significant reduction in deaths. According to last year’s statistics, Uganda had reduced accidents by 10 per cent and traffic police expects to improve because they have now stepped up the enforcement of the law with the use of breathalyzers which have reduced accidents in urban centres. And is also working at reducing accidents along the highways and this will be achieved with the deployment of officers with speed guns. However, there could be more unreported cases, and as often happens, some of the injured die without making the statistics.
What inform compilation of travellers’ manifests and payment of insurance premiums? Who collects the money? Why are insurance companies not paying families of accident victims claims? There is no record of any payment for loss of lives and disabilities from road accidents though it is stated that fares include insurance covers. Ugandan roads have become killing fields without protection for their users. Travellers heave a sigh of relief if they make their destinations. The worrisome trend has tremendous negative impact on the nation’s health system as well as its social and economic aspirations. Who takes responsibility for these?
We need more campaigns of the road safety, effective, going by the recurring carnage on our roads? Are these campaigns substitutes for proper road construction and maintenance culture, maintenance of vehicles, regulation of articulated trucks and petrol tankers, sanctions on owners of vehicles that cause mass deaths on our roads? When bad roads cause accidents, governments that failed to maintain the roads should share in the liability.
Efforts must be made to curb the menace of the tankers and articulated vehicles on our roads. The carnage has to be stopped. All the various agencies that should ensure safer roads should work together to save lives. Public enlightenment should be intensified. Our roads would be safer if they are well built, well maintained and a culture of obeying traffic regulations is enforced. Senior traffic police officers need to be arrested for allegedly soliciting bribes from a driver operators, others demand money in exchange for releasing a suspect in their custody, they should be produced in the Anti-Corruption Court. According to Transparency International, Uganda Police Force was found to be the most bribery-prone institution compared to other forces in the five East African Community partner states.