In Summary
  • The issue: Road traffic accidents
  • Our view: Motorists should cease speeding, taking excessive alcohol, and driving recklessly. We should also remove potholes and widen our roads.

As the country joins the rest of the world to mark the 5th United Nations Road Safety Week that kicked off on May 6-12, a troubling report on road traffic accidents has been released.

The study, “The Epidemiology of road traffic crashes in Uganda” done by Makerere University School of Public Health, says about 9,000 people are killed in road traffic accidents annually.

This distressing number of deaths is three times higher than the latest police statistics indicating that at least 3,500 people have been dying in traffic road accidents every year in the last three years.

The disparity in statistics notwithstanding, there is solid need to worry about the rising rate of road accidents in the country. Apart from loss of precious lives, these accidents come with far-reaching consequences – loss of a family bread winner, harm to the economy in case the victim was a taxpayer, etc.

Ugandans need to urgently comprehend how road traffic accidents are injurious to individual, communal and national development. This realisation should get ingrained in the minds of people – both motorists and non-motorists.

It is when people start recognising the hazards that come with road traffic accidents that they will seek solutions to the tragedy. Otherwise, the time is now to walk the talk in the fight against road accidents by first ascertaining the possible causes.

One of the causes of road accidents is excessive consumption of alcohol. There is need to intensify the campaign against drink-driving. Motorists should keep-off driving after taking excess alcohol since doing so puts their lives and that of other road users at great risk.

Besides, motorists should cease speeding. Many accidents linked to speeding have in most cases led to paying the ultimate price – death. Instead of starting your journey late and speeding to reach the destination in time, you should start the journey early, drive at safe speed and reach in peace.

Reckless driving, especially by amateur drivers, also often leads to an accident. Therefore, traffic police should enforce the law requiring motorists to have valid driving permits, and their vehicle should be in good mechanical condition with an up-to-date road licence.

Besides, we must work on our roads to ensure that they are not full of potholes as well as dotted with blind spots, including sharp bends and steep rises, etc, all of which often lead to accidents.

It is also becoming increasingly dangerous for heavy vehicles (trailers) to share our very many narrow roads with other road users, especially motorists. Just why not restrict trailers to only night travels when there is reduced traffic? This way, we will reduce accidents significantly.

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