USE of mobile phones while driving will be banned, the Government has announced
USE of mobile phones while driving will be banned, the Government has announced.
The move is part of tough measures to stop the high death toll on the roads.
The stringent measures were announced yesterday by the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, John Nasasira, in the run-up to the road safety week.
They also include banning of same day return journeys on long-distance roads, installation of speed governors for passenger service vehicles and compelling only importation of buses with in-built speed governors.
The others are introduction of a driving curriculum for driving schools and the instructors and registration of the schools under the transport ministry. The curriculum would also be incorporated in the schoolâ€™s syllabus
Nasasira said road accidents rival the HIV/AIDS threat and malaria. He said an average 15,000 accidents were reported every year and that from 1988 to 2001 an average 1,650 people died in road accidents each year.
He said 2,017 people died in 2002 alone and most of the victims were 45 years and below, the most productive age bracket.
He said the long distance drivers will have time cards, which the Police would endorse at the different stages of the journey to ensure they did not breach the speed limits.
They will also have speed plotting cards which the Police would check at different places so that no driver cheats.
Nasasira said the Government will decentralise and privatise motor vehicle inspection and computerise it to carry out thorough and accurate checks.
The five centres will be in Mbarara, Fort-Portal, Gulu, Arua and Kampala.
The Government will also streamline boda-boda operators and clamp down on drunken drivers, he said.
He said the suspended sections 108-11 of the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1988 will be amended.
The sections concern use of vehicles in dangerous mechanical condition, overloading, and causing bodily harm or death through reckless driving.
He said the express penalty scheme, which started in Kampala, Jinja, Entebbe and Masaka, will be spread all over the country.
He said the government will also improve the road network under the 10-year Road Sector Development Programme.
Nasasira said the Government has started physical road safety improvements at identified accident black spots and that immediate consideration will be given to Entebbe-Kampala-Jinja roads.
At least 33 locations on the two stretches are identified including intersections of roadside markets and the Mabira stretch.
He said the Government has procured road safety enforcement equipment for the traffic Police especially for the Kampala-Entebbe and Kampala-Jinja road, which will have been improved under the black spots improvement project.
The equipment, he said will include first aid kits, speed-measuring instruments, breath alcoholmeter, police patrol motorcycles and communication equipment.
Nasasira also said the duty to curb road accidents was a shared responsibility with the government, vehicle owners, drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and the public. He said the roads need to be in a good state and vehicles should be roadworthy and the drivers adequately trained.
He said the vehicles should have life saving gadgets and the Traffic Police equipped to monitor wrong doers and that the population should be sensitised on road use.
Mobile phones banned on roads