In Summary
  • The issue: Road accidents
  • Our view: The black spots across the country are known. These can be mapped with clear locations indicating danger zones. The information can be used by stakeholders in the transport sector to formulate road safety measures...

A grisly bus accident occurred yesterday at Namayonjo in Nakasongola District. While details were still scanty, initial reports indicated that four people died in the crash and about 20 people who were injured had been taken to nearby health centres in Nakasongola.

A traffic police officer at the scene told this newspaper that the accident occurred after the bus, belonging to Link Bus Company, overturned several times. It was said to be speeding at Namayonjo, one of the black spots on the Kampala-Gulu highway.

Yesterday’s accident is just one of the several fatal crashes registered on this road, many of them attributed to speeding, reckless driving and other human errors. Police have, on several occasions, issued warnings to motorists about reckless driving and threatened to arrest drivers and cyclists who violate traffic regulations.

Highway operations such as Fika Salaama aimed at apprehending motorists without required driving documents and impounding vehicles in poor mechanical state were initiated to curb road accidents. Similar initiatives to monitor and implement rules on speed governors, use of seat belts, etc., are useful but inconsistent.

Ideally, no motorist should be reminded to abide by traffic regulations. Laws on observing speed limits, use of seat belts, driving defensively, among others, should be followed by anyone who gets behind the wheel. But this is not the case. Many motorists have to be policed to do the right thing, which explains why we still register accidents due to speeding – moreover at known black spots where we ought to be more careful.

Uganda police records indicate that human error contributed to 56, 565 accidents in the country in only eight years, claiming 25,430 lives and a total of 115,519 casualties. Police have data on the various black spots across the country. This information is crucial and can be used to address road safety concerns.

In December last year, Daily Monitor published a detailed list of these black spots to caution motorists travelling for the festive season – a time when higher accident rates are registered – to take extra care when approaching such spots. From our accident records, it is clear that many motorists do not take their personal safety and that of their passengers seriously. We can significantly reduce or avoid road accidents by driving responsibly.

Police should also use available accident related data to come up with stringent road safety measures that are strictly enforced. For instance, the black spots across the country are known. These can be mapped with clear locations indicating danger zones. The information can be used by stakeholders in the transport sector to formulate road safety measures, especially around these spots.

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