PRESIDING AT the burial of the late Francis Ayume in Koboko on Monday, President Museveni said that a law should be enacted to enforce the use of seatbelts in all vehicles.
Francis Ayume was reportedly thrown out of his vehicle when his vehicle overturned one week ago. Yet the driver and Anthony Butele survived within the vehicle. Perhaps if Ayume had been wearing a seatbelt and had not been thrown out, he would have also survived.
Ten years ago, Princess Diana died when her Mercedes crashed into the pillar of a Paris underpass at 140 kilometres per hour. The single survivor was her bodyguard in the front seat who was the only person wearing a seat belt.
There is no doubt that it is much, much safer to drive wearing a seatbelt. It should indeed be compulsory as Museveni says.
There has been a lot of unnecessary speculation about the details of the accident that killed Ayume. Was the trailer driving with full headlights? Was Ayumeâ€™s vehicle speeding? How safe is it to drive fast at night? Was the road potholed? Would things have been any different if he had retained his official vehicle?
The fact is that driving in Uganda is incredibly dangerous, probably 100 times as dangerous as driving in Europe. Ayume is just another victim of the carnage on Ugandaâ€™s roads and it is pointless to single out any particular cause.
Yet without any other change, this carnage could be massively reduced if all drivers and passengers wore seatbelts.
Government should move ahead to ensure that their use is rigorously enforced in future.