The Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has asked members of the public report and shame government officials who break traffic rules such as overlapping at unnecessary spots, driving along pavements and defying traffic lights.
Katumba said the behaviour of senior government officials has grown into an intolerable habit that is setting a bad example for the rest of society.
He was speaking to journalists at the Uganda Media Centre as part of the events to create awareness about the UN Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030
“We have tolerated enough of the irresponsible behavior of some of our motorists. We all know Traffic Police cannot be everywhere to stop this. To make all of us responsible, we should revive the campaign of shaming irresponsible road users including government officials who drive alongside pavements and past traffic lights,” he said.
He revealed that between 3000 and 4000 Ugandans die in road accidents every year, making it one of the leading causes of death.
In other words, road accidents kill 10 people per day.
In the new policy, the government is targeting halving the figure to by 2030.
He urged the public to take full responsibility of fighting road accidents ahead of the coming festive season noting accidents continue to impose a heavy burden to the economy through premature loss of lives, remedial expenditure on medical care to victims, loss of income and output either permanently through death, temporary disability through injury, loss of livelihood by the dependents, damage and loss of property, repair and replacement of accident vehicles.
Given the fact that there is a challenge of a rapid increase in the number of motor vehicles including motorcycles, the minister noted that this demands safe, orderly and quality services in the carriage of goods, services and passengers which he says must be everyone’s responsibility.
“Everyone should be responsible because he/she loves and cares about their family and wants them to be safe at all times. Therefore, creating a stand against irresponsible road use demands that irresponsible road use characterized by; having no regard to other road users, reckless driving like speeding, use of hand held mobile phones, driving under the influence of alcohol, limited use of helmets etc. will require concerted effort from everyone taking the proper precautions when it comes to driving vehicles or use of the road by all means,” he said.
He also appealed to various stakeholders both private and public as well as Non-Government Organizations to join government with a view that road safety is a shared responsibility.
He reiterated government’s commitment to implementing a number of interventions to address irresponsible road users which include continuous implementation of Road Safety Acts.
“My ministry initiated the amendment of the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998 (Amendment) Act 2020, to strengthen transport Services and road safety. We are in the process of updating the relevant regulations to operationalize the new amended Act,” he revealed.
Gen. Katumba also revealed that in the new road designs, they are planning to separate the paths for pedestrians and motor vehicles to minimize contact between the two.
“The road designs will consider the needs of vulnerable users who include pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists who often bear the brunt of road traffic accidents,” he said.
He added: “My Ministry has embarked on the process of strengthening regulation and licensing of road transport services through upgrading of the existing systems, monitoring and stepping up enforcement, we shall improve road crash data collection tools and analysis through completion of rollout of the road crash data base system,” he said.