In the last decade, Uganda has witnessed road accidents rise by 25.9% from 2597 deaths per year in 2006 to 3536 in 2016. Moreover up to 33% of emergency beds in hospitals are occupied because of road accidents and this is clearly a huge disaster holding back health and economic development of the country.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) country representative, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, he says: Road accidents which is predicted to be the fifth largest killer by 2030 globally, is holding back health and economic development.”
Partners with the Parliamentary Forum on Road Safety (PAFROS) comprising of World Health Organization, World Bank, and Safe Way Right Way acknowledge that road carnage in Uganda needed urgent action for express improvement of road use.
What is the Legislative Action Plan on Road Safety all about?
Launched on the 18th of May, 2018, the Legislative Action Plan on Road Safety is aimed at galvanizing efforts to address legislative issues regarding the institutionalized management of road safety, safer roads & mobility, safer vehicles & road users, and post-crash response. It is aimed at creating awareness on road carnage and improving road use in the country.
It is symbolic to the processes that will be on going to champion all road traffic motorized issues across the country but most importantly first tracking the current road safety and traffic amendment Act, 1998 which is still about to get to cabinet.
What are the core initiatives in the Legislative Action Plan on Road Safety?
Approved as of 28th of May, 2018, by the cabinet ministers of Uganda are the proposed measures by the Ministry of Works and Transport to address road carnage in Uganda. The measures include:
- Installation of digital speed limiters in all commercial vehicles.
- Licensing of all goods vehicles of which process will require goods vehicles to fulfill certain regulatory requirements including inspection for road worthiness.
- Accreditation of all drivers of goods vehicles.
- Introduction of a Graduated Driving License that will mandate drivers of commercial vehicles to undergo refresher courses and training.
- Establishment of Automated Driver Test Centers. The system here is intended to minimize human bias and to allow learner drivers to undergo rigorous testing to confirm their competences to drive before issuance of driving permits.
- Plans to step up road safety sensitization, awareness and strengthening of the coordination role of road safety activities by the Ministry of Works and Transport, Uganda.
Why the new Legislative Action Plan on Road Safety in Uganda?
Uganda is estimated to be losing $1.2bn equivalent to 5% of its GDP to road traffic accident and related causes.
However, the road sector contributed about 3% in 2014 and 2015 clearly indicating that the country is paying more in lives than it gains in the economy.
How will it impact on the uncontrollable rates of road accidents in Uganda?
The Legislative Action Plan on Road Safety is based on a gap analysis of the current Traffic and Road Safety Act, as well as best practice with regard to road design, construction and maintenance. It aims to address challenges by stimulating debate in Parliament to sink the entire Ugandan society on the urgent nature of action on road safety by 2030.
What was being done before this new Legislative Action Plan on Road Safety?
In March 2015, Ministry of Works and Transport handed over the contract for mandatory inspection of motor vehicles to Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), a Swiss company that provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services. This was intended largely to get cars in poor mechanical condition off the roads and reduce accidents.
The Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, Rebecca Kadaga called for the reinstating of the vehicle inspection role to the Uganda Police Force under the Inspectorate of Motor Vehicles. This is as a result of a recent popular minority report from the committee on Physical Infrastructure that is currently before Parliament recommending for the termination of SGS’ contract citing multiple irregularities.
She made the call during the launch of the Legislative Action Plan on Road Safety and while receiving a petition on the campaign for safer roads by the Parliamentary Forum on Road Safety at Parliament.
As African Mobilities Observatory – AMO, we believe road safety is for all and it is and obligation for every individual to play their right role in the right way, at the right time. This is believed one way to achieve the UN's sustainable Development Goals' targets. Goals Such as SDG1, SDG3, SDG 11, SDG13, and SDG 17.
What do you have to say about Road Safety as a global issue?
By Joseph Semuju
Community Manager - AMO
African Mobilities Observatory - AMO, MICHELIN.
Message was edited by: Joseph Semuju, Community Manager - AMO, Kampala, Uganda.