As citizens continue to celebrate the advent of the new year, one persistent threat that is dragging them to a state of gloom is the continued loss of lives in road accidents.
Last Friday, a grisly road accident left one person dead and four others critically injured after a truck they were travelling on overturned about one kilometre from Gulu-Kampala highway.
In other cases, two people were killed in an accident and five others were seriously injured following two separate accidents that occurred on the Kampala-Masaka highway last week. Police said in one of the accidents, two sand trucks collided head-on, forcing them to veer off the road and eventually overturn.
These and other road accidents in other parts of the country have already put a dark mark in the new year. Nevertheless, the road accidents should act as eye openers and put the traffic police, motorists and all other road users on notice.
It is important that all road users should start taking life seriously. For instance, with or without the traffic police on our roads, why should a driver or boda boda rider speed? Why should they drive a vehicle in dangerous mechanical condition (DMC)? Why would they drink-drive even when they know the embedded risks? Why don’t they, for instance, use the seatbelt in their car?
Fortunately, providing answers to these questions and more can go a long way in reducing the road accident menace.
It is also important that the Ministry of Works and Transport embarks on road monitoring programme to identify real and potential dark spots, especially on the highways. There are also cases where unnecessarily huge humps built on the highways have led to fatal accidents. A case in point is the hump on the Jinja-Tororo highway at Busesa in Iganga District.
In this case, a speeding fuel tanker hit the huge hump, veered off the road and overturned several times leaving the fuel spill burning several shops at the centre to ashes.
Meanwhile, the traffic police need to double their efforts and ensure that their presence on the highway contributes to the reduction of road accidents.
This demads that the officers’ role go beyond checking for 3rd Party Insurance stickers, driving permits, and headlights, among others. They should also ensure that commuter taxis carry prescribed number of passengers, and that they stop DMC vehicles.
It is also critical that the officers should not only stop at removing vehicle registration number plates, but also arrest errant drivers on the spot. These and more measures will help to minimise road accidents.
The issue: Road accidents
Our view: Traffic police need to double their efforts and ensure that their presence on the highway contribute towards the reduction of road accidents.