What you need to know:
- The issue: Road safety.
- Our view: As traffic spokesperson Kananura put it, many of these cases are because of indiscipline on the road. This calls for collective effort by both the authorities and road users.
This week, the Uganda Police Force announced that it was activating all Fika Salama checkpoints and speed zones ahead of the busy Christmas period.
Speaking during the World Day of Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims in Kampala, Mr Michael Kananura, the spokesperson of the Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety, said cases of indiscipline on the road goes up as the festive season nears.
For that reason, he said, they were going to increase their patrols on the roads and checkpoints to test drivers for drink driving and apprehend those driving above the speed limit.
We welcome the move by the traffic police because our roads, especially during the festive season, are a death traps. This is especially so because people travel across the country to their ancestral homes to celebrate Christmas with their families.
But in the process, so many accidents and deaths are registered in the period preceding December 25 and January 1. In 2021, for instance, at least 58 people lost their lives in accidents during the Christmas holiday. Police reported that 248 people were involved in accidents recorded between December 23 and December 26, 2021.
While last year, 206 accidents were registered by police involving taxis, boda boda and pedestrians during the same period. The accidents claimed 55 lives.
Police attributes the accidents to speeding, especially for taxis and buses rushing to make return journeys. But the Traffic and Road Safety Directorate also attributes the number of accidents to people driving cars on long journeys for the first time, and driving cars in dangerous mechanical condition (DMCs), among other reasons.
As traffic spokesperson Kananura put it, many of these cases are because of indiscipline on the road. This calls for collective effort by both the authorities and road users.
We need to report bad drivers. We need to be each other’s keeper and make sure the wrong elements putting the lives of others on risk are reported to police. We have seen vigilant Ugandans recording videos of those driving while using phones. Such evidence needs to be recorded and shared with the police.
We also appeal to police to implement the law. Corruption is a disease that has eaten all sectors of our society, and police has not been spared. Our appeal is that those officers tainting the name of the Force should put the lives of Ugandans first – and not a few thousands shillings – and implement the law to the letter.
Finally, Christmas Day is about four weeks away. We appeal to all road users to plan their journeys early. Make sure you have your cars checked for roadworthiness and move early to avoid speeding.