Sheila is 19 years old and she has just enrolled at Uganda Christian University Mukono. Because she would have to commute to the campus, her parents decided to buy her a car to ease her movements.
Sheila’s joy could, however, be cut short after a new regulation was announced yesterday, suggesting that for any person to sit behind the steering wheel, they should be at least 25 years old.
The development by the Ministry of Works and Transport is aimed at reducing road accidents in the country. Under the new arrangement, PSV drivers will be given a badge upon vetting and verification of their suitability by the police, unlike in the past when driving schools were not regulated.
Dr Steven Kasiima, the head of traffic police, said the process, which is starting with drivers of commuter taxis, buses, boda boda riders and special hires, was meant to curb the rampant road accidents resulting from reckless driving.
“All drivers are expected to undergo tests at licensed schools. The forms are already submitted to ensure that drivers must have basic education as a requirement for a permit,” Dr Kasiima said during the launch of the week-long accident-free festive season campaign in Kampala yesterday.
“Most accidents can be prevented if the public cooperates with the police,” Mr Kasiima said, observing that about four people die daily due to road accidents.
Mr Fred Mpanga, the executive of the campaign, said their target is to curb deaths caused by accidents through educating the public about their roles. “Many lives have been lost during festive seasons due to speeding and reckless driving but mainly because people do not know what, where and how to report. The maiden campaign will see us monitor traffic flow and giving out stickers to all road users,” Mr Mpanga said.
The regional traffic police commander for Kampala Metropolitan, Mr Lawrence Niwabiine, said more officers would be deployed during the festive season to reduce fatalities and speeding.
“Some passengers don’t know what to do, in that upon arrest, they tend to attack the officer. This is blackmail that we cannot allow. The police will not hesitate to arrest anybody who threatens their work,” Mr Niwabiine said.