9,000 people die in road accidents every year – study

People gathered at an accident on Masaka road recently. FILE PHOTO

What you need to know:

"According to the police figures, it means about 10 Ugandans die on the roads every day. That’s huge. The bad news is the most recent research we have done indicates the numbers are about three times more than that. We are still looking at the detailed analysis but it is likely the numbers are way higher than the police reported,” Olive Kobusingye, research principle Investigator

Kampala. About 9,000 people perish in road traffic accidents annually in Uganda, a number three times higher than that declared by the police, according to preliminary research findings by Makerere University School of Public Health.
The latest statistics by police indicate that at least 3,500 people have been dying in traffic road accidents annually in the past three years.

Dubbed epidemiology of road traffic crashes in Uganda, the research, which looked at the accidents that happened in 2016 sought to find out if the numbers reported by the police are the actual figures following cases that go unreported.
Dr Olive Kobusingye, the research principle investigator, said indeed it turned out that what police reports is lower not because it is under declaring deliberately but for some reasons they don’t capture some of the crashes.

Disclosing figures
She further explained that they cannot reveal the actual numbers the study came up with since they managed to reach 16 out of the 27 regions that the police reached because they are still carrying out statistical procedure to put them in the context of the whole country.
She adds: “We were looking at health facility data, mortuary data, and we suppose the reason police numbers are fewer is that some of the patients who go on to die in hospitals or communities don’t necessarily get to be captured by police they end up with fewer numbers.”

Main cause of accidents
Speeding and use of alcohol but based on where the accidents happen were the major driving factors for the accidents. On the other hand, the pedestrians were found to be victims as a result of inadequate infrastructure.
A 2018 study conducted by the same investigators comparing App-based and regular motorcycles also known as boda bodas, found that the former, which includes companies such as Safe Boda, Uber, and Taxify get fewer crashes than the latter.
“The research found that app-based motorcycles get fewer clashes most likely due to use of helmets which is one thing we have been promoting. They are trained and more likely to follow traffic lights on the road,” the study indicated.

The findings were released yesterday during a high level panel discussion on the status of road safety in Uganda held at Makerere University’s College of Health Sciences in recognition of the 5th UN Road Safety week (6th-12th May, 2019).
This year’s theme is “Leadership for road safety”, whose goal is to generate a demand from the public for stronger leadership for road safety worldwide.

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