Two children killed daily in road crashes, say police

The Director of Thriving Resilient Cities, Dr Fikresilassie Aklilu (right), with Mr Sam Bambanza, the executive director of HOVITA, during the policy dialogue in Kampala on September 27, 2023. PHOTO/COURTESY

Police have said the country loses two children per day as road crash cases rise.

Mr Micheal Kananura, the spokesperson of the  Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety, revealed this yesterday in Kampala during a policy dialogue for establishing safe school zones.

He blamed this on low awareness about road safety rules and violation of the same by motorists, passengers and pedestrians.

“Many parents using boda boda for transporting their children to school place three to five children on one bike. This is highly risky and we need to rethink this mode of mobility,” Mr Kananura said.  

According to the Police Annual Crime Report for 2022, a total of 650 children (395 males and 255 females) below the age of 18 died due to road crashes in the country. In the same year, there were about 20,394 road crashes that killed 3,901 people.

Mr Sam Bambanza, the executive director of Hope for Victims of Traffic Accidents (HOVITA), said the government should consider reducing speed limits in school areas as one of the ways to promote safe school zones and reduce deaths. “If we don’t do anything, we will be losing our next generation.

Numerous studies have shown that lowering the speed limit from 50kms per hour or 40MPH to 30KMP in school zones significantly reduces the number of injuries and deaths,” he said. 

Currently, our speed limit regulation is at 50KMPH so we advocate that speed limit should be lowered to 30KMP in order to reduce injuries and deaths,” he added.

Mr Bambanza said the primary reasons behind the road crashes include speeding beyond limits, non-compliance with traffic signs and failure to observe special zones. 

“School zones are areas within the vicinity of schools where school children and young pedestrians are likely to be present in high numbers,” he added. Commenting on the proposal, Mr Winstone Katushabe, the commissioner for Road Safety and Transport Regulations at the Ministry of Works and Transport, said the main focus should be to improve discipline among road users.

“Most of the indisciplined road users are our own, even if we are to reduce to 30KMPH but remained indisciplined, it will be very hard for us to achieve our goals,” he said.

Ms Susan Tumuhairwe from Safe Way Right Way Uganda, a non-governmental organisation promoting road safety, said: “We have trained more than 28,000 students and created about 20 road safety clubs in the Albertine region. We need to extend road safety training to parents and caregivers.”