The Minister of Works and Transport, Hon. Gen. Edward Katumba has appealed to all Ugandans to join the fight against irresponsible road use in the country especially during the upcoming festive season which coincides with the political campaign period in the run up to national elections in January 2021. He made these remarks while launching the Third National Road Safety Summit held at Kampala Serena Hotel.
“The upcoming festive season occurs during the political campaign period therefore extreme caution must be exercised. We want to see a reduction in accidents that can be largely avoidable. For this reason, I direct the Traffic Police and other stakeholders to increase strict enforcement on the roads during this season, through the special Operation ‘Fika Salaama’ previously initiated in 2016, that curbed traffic offences. Only then shall we change the behaviour on the road,” he said.
The National Road Safety Summit is one of the various stakeholder engagements sponsored by Vivo Energy Uganda as the Ministry of Works and Transport marks its annual National Road Safety Week under the theme “Road Safety for Prosperity.” It brought together key stakeholders and decision makers in Road Safety, under the sub-theme “Road Safety: Create a stand against irresponsible road use.”
Other events during the Road Safety Week include a Defensive Driving workshop for drivers of government MDAs on Tuesday 10th December, led by Vivo Energy Uganda.
Hon. Gen. Katumba Wamala, lauded Vivo Energy Uganda and partners for continuously championing various road safety initiatives to promote behavioural change and safer road use in Uganda.
The Managing Director of Vivo Energy Uganda, Mr. Gilbert Assi said: “According to the World Health Organisation, human error is the leading cause of most road accidents. Together with the support and commitment of all key stakeholders present and in line with our theme, we seek to encourage everybody to personalise the fight against human error as a common vice and renowned leading cause of the majority of road accidents. This is because we believe that road safety is a shared objective. Speak up, in the event that you notice irresponsible behavior on the road, to save lives.”
Mr. Assi thanked the Uganda Parliament’s Committee of Physical Infrastructure for inviting Vivo Energy Uganda to participate in consultations with the private sector held last year during the formulation of amendments of the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998. The company shared best practices that currently led to its track record that saw its truck drivers score 56.4 million kilometres driven without a lost time incident. The Act is currently enforced as the law.
The Director of Traffic and Road Safety at the Uganda Police Force, Commissioner Bazil Mugisha, reported a 0.4% increase in the number of crashes reported, from 12,805 in 2018 to 12,858 in 2019. Of these, 3,407 were fatal, 5,992 were serious and 3,459 were minor accidents. Similarly, there was a 5% increase in the total number of person killed in 2019 with motorcyclists and their passengers and pedestrians forming the largest number of casualties.
The Commissioner decried the high level of crashes, owing them to irresponsible behavior and excitement of motorists on the road, especially during the festive season. He advised Ugandans to report to the Traffic Police any errant motorists for punitive action.
Vivo Energy Uganda, the company that distributes and markets Shell branded fuels and lubricants in Uganda, organised the Summit together with NTV Uganda, the Ministry of Works and Transport, Uganda Red Cross, Uganda Insurers Association and Uganda Police Force.