Beginning Tuesday, all drivers of taxis and passenger buses will be required to wear identification badges.
“Starting Tuesday we shall be arresting all those without the badges because drivers must know that these are permanent jobs. They are going to be answerable to the Ministry of Works and the police,” Police Commissioner for Traffic, Dr Steven Kasiima, said at the launch of the badges for public service vehicles (PSV) drivers and new enhanced computerised driving permits at Kyambogo, on Friday.
Wearing badges is the government’s new initiative to crack down on incompetent drivers to reduce the increasing road carnage in the country.
A recent verification exercise by the Uganda police and the Transport Licensing Board discovered that half of the passenger bus drivers who were tested were found incompetent.
Dr Kasiima said that out of 1,000 bus drivers who were presented by bus owners for vetting prior to the launch of the new policy, only 534 were found competent.
He said the majority had history of causing accidents, reckless driving, driving under influence of alcohol while others did not have the necessary qualifications.
“Many drivers are poorly trained and drive vehicles of the class they are not qualified for while others are ignorant of traffic regulations, road signs and markings,” he said.
Under the new policy, drivers of PSVs will wear identification badges which they get after they have been vetted, tested and proven competent by the police and the Transport Licensing Board.
The Minister for Transport and Works, Mr Abraham Byandala, who launched the policy, said the new measures will affect even drivers of private omnibuses and boda-bodas (motorcycles) riders.
“Until today, a driver was only required to possess a valid driving permit to drive a PSV. A person who wishes to drive a PSV shall have to be first vetted by both the Police and the Transport Licensing Board to ensure that such a person is competent,” he said.
Mr Byandala said the new policy will also check whether a PSV driver has attained the right age to drive a particular class of vehicle or, in the case of an existing driver, has a clean record of driving passenger vehicles.
The government will also provide an updated national data base of competent and accredited drivers of PSVs and goods vehicles.
Dr Kasiima said that since the introduction of the Safeway-Right Way campaign supported by the World Bank in 2012, traffic accidents have drastically reduced on Uganda’s highways.