Vivo Energy Uganda; the company that distributes and markets Shell branded fuels and lubricants has trained Bus Drivers on Road Safety in a bid to reduce road carnage.
The road sector is considered the most important mode of transportation in Uganda as it carries 97% of freight cargo and 99% of the passenger traffic.
As the population rapidly grows, the number of vehicles on the roads has been simultaneously increasing.
Studies show that Uganda has the third highest rate of road accidents in Africa with close to 3000 deaths annually; behind South Africa and Nigeria whose rates stand at 13,000 deaths and 4000 respectively.
While the African Region possesses only 2% of the world’s vehicles, ailment it contributes 16% to the global deaths, and countries such as; Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, are responsible for 64% of all road deaths in the region.
According to police reports, there are 200 black spots along several roads in Uganda that motorists should take care of to reduce the road carnage. The dangerous spots are due to sharp corners, lack of road signs, large potholes, and narrow roads, among others.
Vivo Energy says these statistics prompted them to invest in training different stakeholders to enhance their knowledge and change behavior on the road. Among these stakeholder include bus drivers who are a special category that are at risk as they spend more of their time on the road
Speaking at the training workshop, at G1 Hotel Vivo Energy’s Health and Safety manager Allan Rogers Kibaya challenged Bus drivers to fight for their lives and those of other road users.
“Drivers are a key factor in the safety aspects. Good drivers are ambassadors for transport corporations and as such are also instrumental for the image of the industry. Bus drivers are custodians of many people’s lives as a big percentage of road users depend on public transport. People entrust you with their lives on the road. Business men also depend on your safely deliver their goods to their destinations,” Kibaya noted.
Paul Kwamusi the defensive driving instructor trained the bus drivers on defensive driving, Traffic rules and road signs among others. The drivers named some of the main causes of accidents as Human error, drink driving, Fatigue, poor roads, over speeding and stress from the bus owners among others. They indicated that their major challenge as pressure from their bosses to make more trips and this exposes them to road accidents.
However the secretary general of the Uganda Bus Owners Association Michael Lia defended the bus owners saying that they are also under pressure from the Banks. He expressed that they are given only 3 years by the Banks to recover the loans; therefore they also put the pressure on the drivers.
Vivo Energy started training Bus drivers in 2014, and this year the programme will be expanded to cover the whole country with training conducted on a quarterly basis. The company has also heavily invested in training school children in over 40 schools and over 1000 Boda boda riders annually.