By Moses Mulondo
The Government has brought a new by-law that will require drivers of public vehicles to be assessed annually as an intervention for reducing the escalating road accidents in the country.
According to the instrument which the works and transport minister, Abraham Byandaala, signed and gazetted recently, every driver will be issued with a performance certificate which will be renewed annually basing on their roadtrack record.
The new law will require all public transport drivers to go through driving tests and medical examinations annually before their driving permits and certificates are renewed.
The Transport Licensing Board secretary, Winstone Katushabe said: “This by-law will greatly reduce road accidents because from the study we made, 80% of the accidents are caused by the errors of the drivers.”
According to the Annual Traffic and Road Safety reports, 3,343 Ugandans died in accidents last year and 16,619 sustained severe injuries.
In 2010 the number of people who died was 2,954 and those who got injuries were 15,854. in 2009, 2734 died and 15,829 got injured.
Uganda has the third highest road carnage in Africa.
“Road accidents are a burden to our nation. So much is lost in investigations, loss of lives, people becoming economically disempowered after becoming lame and sustainability of the families of the victims also becomes a problem. That is why we have brought this bi-law to reduce on the burden,” Katushabe explained.
He also revealed that the latest study by the Government put the cost of accidents to Uganda’s economy at sh800b annually.
Police statistics indicate that 2,500 Ugandans die and thousands become crippled in road accidents every year.
Katushabe said those with criminal records, records of causing accidents, and poor health will not have their certificates renewed.
The regulation will also give the ministry mandate to stop misbehaving drivers from driving public service drivers.
“We shall require all drivers to have badges after we have assessed them and if anyone misbehaves, we shall confiscate our badge and render him unable to drive,” he elaborated.
He said the by-law will save them from the legal process they would have to go through as required in section 45 of the 1998 Traffic and Road Safety Act.