Former Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] leader Col Kiiza Besigye has made remarkable observations into the country’s deadly road transport sectors.
Uganda’s roads which are estimated to claim more than 30, Besigye said needed immediate and appropriate medicine from government.
Among other strategies to save Ugandans from the road carnage, Besigye proposed that road safety lessons be taken up as compulsory subjects at elementary school level.
“The most fundamental responsibility of any government is the protection of people’s lives. It’s possible to effectively address the horrific road carnage on Ugandan roads,” said Besigye in a Sunday Statement.
“Scores of people die on Uganda roads daily, and many more are seriously injured and permanently disabled. It’s so routine a feature that it hardly causes any alarm anymore!”…Our country needs to reflect on this scourge and tackle it effectively,” he observed.
The 2013 Police report indicates that 2,954 people died in road accidents and that nearly 3000 people die in accidents every year.
The Opposition Kingpin defies this figure as underestimated and quotes World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Status Report on Road Safety which sets the figure three times higher.
“Africa, where Uganda is in Super League of road deaths, has the most dangerous roads on earth! Though Africa has 2% of world’s vehicles, she accounts for 16% of world road death!” said Besigye.
“Remarkably, the greatest majority of those who die in road accidents are not in the vehicles that crash. 42 out of every 100 dead are killed while walking on foot- pedestrians! 10% are on bicycles and 17% on Boda-boda. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are the most vulnerable road users (VRUs).
Besigye put the blame on Poor policy and regulatory framework to provide for good road safety management; safer vehicles; safer road users and a good post-crash response, as well as the populations’ ignorance about road safety.
As a result, he noted the country has prevailed without speed limits on urban roads- not to exceed 50km/hr, as well as key laws such as the helmet law covering all riders.
He observed further that the country has very narrow roads that do not offer any separate spaces for the different road user categories, yet most are constricted with slippery and uneven surfaces and without appropriate road signs.
Poor road safety awareness
The FDC Stalwart counseled that Uganda borrows a leaf from other countries which implement road awareness training programs for all citizens including children below 4 years.
“Road rules tests can be made compulsory in all schools!” he noted.
Road safety awareness especially in young school-going children remains an issue according to available literature. According to hospital trauma registries in Uganda, children aged 5-15 years are the second to the adults 25-44 years most affected age group in injury cases.
However, according to National Road Safety Council, Uganda has now a new National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) will be responsible for “advocacy, sensitization, awareness campaigns and lobbying for more funding”