The Ministry of Works and Transport, recently (14th October, 2021) at Mestil Hotel in Kampala; launched the National Road Safety Action Plan aiming at reducing road crashes, serious injuries and deaths by 50% come year 2030 as guided by the Global Plan for Road Safety.
11 people get Killed every day on our roads for now three years, according to the Uganda Police Traffic reports. In 2021, the number of road crashes Increased by 42% from 12,249 crashes in 2020 to 17,443 crashes in 2021. Road crash death has become the number one cause of death for young people between 5-29 years. Unfortunately, most of those killed are in their prime age, meaning they are productive and hence of great benefit to families, communities, the country and the world!
The number of People killed increased from 3,663 in 2020 to 4,159 in 2021. The is equivalent to 297 taxis full to capacity with people getting killed in 2021 on our roads! The categories of road users killed were 33% pedestrians, Motorcyclists 34%, Passengers 24% Drivers 5% pedal cyclists 4%. There was an increase in fatalities in all user categories as Motorcyclists increasing by 21%, pedestrians by 10%, Drivers by 10% , Passengers on motorcycles by 29% , passengers in heavy omnibus by 33%, passengers in medium omnibuses 30%, other vehicles by 01%. Pedal cyclists by 02% then passengers in light omnibuses by 29%.
Seriously injuries on our roads increased from 8,370 in 2020 to 12,589 in 2021. This is equivalent to 188 buses of people full to capacity of 67 getting seriously injured with possible results of disability in year 2021 alone. Persons Seriously injured increased by 50.1% in the year 2021. The breakdown is as follows; Passengers on Motorcycles increased by more than half from 1,452 to 2,393. Motorcyclists injured increased by 52%. Pedestrians increased 57%.
The police report many times attribute the pedestrian issue to careless pedestrians usually crossing the road. For the boda boda issue; URRENO recently carried out operational research that revealed that 100% of motorcycle passengers in Kampala do not wear helmets!
The National Road Safety Action plan focusing on 5 global pillars; 1. Investing in Multimodal transport and land-use planning; 2. Ensuring Safer Road infrastructure;3. Enforcing Vehicle Safety;4. Supporting Safe Road use; and 5. Then improving The Post-crash response. Is it possible that we can do something to make our roads safer as we wait for the required ideal situation that will be achieved upon fully implementing our Action plan?
The good news is that, the police report continuously reminds us that about 85% of these crashes, actually could have been prevented as they result from human error!
The above actually can be explained by the fact that we have transporters making a combined fleet milage coverage of 17million kilometers in 2021 alone; with zero incidence of road crashes yet they use the same infrastructure all of us use!
Our President, actually am told says Road crashes result from drunk drivers; while some of our religious people attribute it to the work of the devil!
My opinion is, we need to invest more on transforming the attitude of our people to adopt safe road user behavior as; adoption of safe speeds, avoiding drunk driving, safe use of seatbelts and helmets including child restraints and this can only be achieved through tailored and regular mindset education programs to regularly remind and influence required professional behaviors and practices among our road users especially drivers.
Mr. Omongo Ndugu-Executive Director-UPDN