Yet again another gruesome accident has claimed the lives of three promising Ugandans: two Miss Tourism contestants Norah Atim and Barbra Nakiwolo, and a journalist working with NTV, Resty Namawejje.
The number of accidents on our roads is worrying and something needs to be done and pretty fast. Several reports drafted have indicated that Uganda is one of the African countries with a high rate of accidents.
For instance, according to World Health Rankings, road accidents come in at Number 12 of the twenty major causes of deaths in Uganda.
Of course there are various reasons why accidents are rampant on our roads, the most prominent among them being speeding, impetuousness, driving without cause for other road users, bad roads and drink driving.
And, whereas some of the bad road habits are difficult to tame, bad roads and drink driving can be handled to a degree of satisfaction by the relevant authorities.
In this regard, the Traffic Police should deploy personnel with Breathalyzers, Speed Guns and highway police patrol cars along the busy routes, as a means of announcing their presence and commitment towards protecting the lives of travellers.
Also, while it is true that government has put emphasis on the construction of roads, at times there are indicators of shoddy works by contractors, thereby putting the lives of the users in danger. Similarly, most of the roads in the country lack road signs, another precursor for road carnage. This miscarriage of trust must stop.
Meanwhile, in Uganda the story of road accidents can never be complete without mention of boda bodas. These ‘mobile deathtraps’ have caused untold suffering to both the riders and their passenngers that the National Referral Hospital had to set up a ward known as the ‘Boda boda ward’, specifically for victims of these motorcycles.
Experts at the Department of Orthopedics at Mulago have since evaluated the impact of the boda bodas on the hospital, establishing that commercial motorcycle accidents etch up to 62 per cent of the budget allocated to the department of Surgery, with one victim using up over US$360, about a million shillings.
So, as we mourn the three departed souls of our sisters, there is need for the police to step up its act and make the roads safe for all users.