Police explains ‘soft approach’ on errant drivers

Sunday December 23 2018

21 people died last week in accident i

A police officer at an accident scene in Kapchorwa that claimed 21 people last week. File photo  

By Moses Kyeyune

Kampala- Over ten years leading to January 2018, there were at least 25,430 accidents registered on Uganda’s roads which led to deaths. In total, a record 56, 565 accidents were registered over the same period, with more than 115,519 casualties left in their wake.

In the past three weeks alone, more 100 people have perished in separate road carnages in the different parts of the country, and all preliminary reports by the police have pinned drivers.

Whereas there are hefty express penalties, these have for so many years proved unyielding.

In the latest approach, the police have rolled out a mobile tent to moblise drivers towards responsible road use on the Kampala-Gulu stretch.
The new drive is targeting speeding which is the leading cause of fatalities in the country.

A local NGO, Safe Way Right Way, is spearheading the drive which started in September, according to Regional Traffic Officer for Savanah region, Mr Mable Asingwire.

“We have seen great improvement and decrease in accidents as a result of this campaign, we talk to driver’s one on one [and] it has helped us, especially as we move into the festive season,” she says.


How it works
Though partnerships with the (Safe Way Right Way) the police have purchased speed guns, and tents which they randomly take to identified black spots.

For the Gulu Highway, the tent has been taken to dangerous spots, including Nanda in Kiryandongo, which has been a centre of bus accidents this year.

Ms Monica Ndirugendawa, the Inspector of Police in- charge of traffic-community liaison at the police headquarters, is heading the campaign.
“When the man at the speed gun stops you, we bring you to the tent and instead of slapping a fine on you, we remind you of your responsibilities and the value of your life,” she says.

This she says, has come with fruitful results and that there has not been any major fatality recorded at the highway since the programme was rolled out.

Many road users have welcomed the campaign since it appeals directly to the minds of the drivers.

Mr Simon Kitaka, a regular driver on the highway, says he has gone through this tent twice. “This is a good campaign, the government should role it throughout the country,” he says.

Nakasongola District traffic officer Ogwal Khasule said the stretch remains a hub for accidents because it is a cattle zone and the road is narrow.