The Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) and its partners have revealed plans to help curb road carnages through the Road Safety Campaign. The campaign was launched on Wednesday at the Copper Chimney Restaurant in Lugogo, Kampala.
The launch of the Road Safety Campaign was graced by Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport in the Ugandan cabinet. He was flanked by USPA President, Moses Al Sayeed Lubega, Daniel Kayongo, Brand Manager Kansai Plascon and Emmanuel Ainebyoona, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health (MoH). Representatives from Uganda Police’s Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety also graced the event including officials from National Council of Sports (NCS).
USPA’s Lubega revealed that the activations for the campaign will happen in August. This will include media activations to sensitize motorists on road safety, and processions for the same cause (2nd and 4th August respectively). On 3rd August, the association will hold a requiem mass for the deceased colleagues with those who fell prey to road carnages in mind.
“The intention of the campaign is to advocate for order and responsibility amongst motorists while on the road. I believe that we as media have a big role to play in creating awareness about road safety in this country. USPA is taking the barton to escalate this message and this cause will circulate to each and every Ugandan so as to prevent avoidable carnages in the future,” Lubega said before thanking the partners for joining the cause.
Gen. Katumba Wamala expressed delight in the initiative noting that combined efforts from all Ugandans can help curb road carnages, something that claims lots of lives each year.
“Road crashes is an issue that cannot be ignored because accidents continue to increase everyday. At least 4,000 people are lost to road carnages annually and boda bodas are the major cause of this,” Gen. Wamala said adding that there are laws in place to curb road carnages but the indiscipline amongst motorists who ignore basic traffic rules has made the situation worse, including high ranking government officials who continue to drive on the wrong side of the road.
Gen. Wamala also highlighted on the Uganda National Road Safety Action Plan, a government initiative that seeks to reduce the number of road crashes, injuries, and fatalities on Ugandan roads. The key objectives of the Uganda National Road Safety Action Plan include: developing and implementing road safety policies, legislation, and regulations that are evidence-based and aligned with international best practices, improving road infrastructure to ensure that it is safe, efficient, and accessible to all road users, enhancing the capacity of road transport agencies and other stakeholders to effectively manage road safety, strengthening the enforcement of road safety laws through enhanced law enforcement, public education, and awareness campaigns, improving the post-crash response and emergency services, strengthening road safety data collection and analysis for evidence-based decision-making and promoting partnerships and collaboration among government agencies, civil society organizations, and the private sector to improve road safety.
MoH’s Ainebyoona noted that the ministry has equipped hospitals with ambulances and other equipment to deal with post-crash incidents. However, he said that prevention is better than cure and if motorists are cautious on the road, hospitals can concentrate on treating diseases and not injuries sustained from road carnages.
“Road accidents are among the top five causes of death in our country so we call upon all motorists to take charge of their lives and those around them will on the road. MoH through the hospitals will continue to take care of accident victims at the emergency sections but it would be good if these accidents are prevented in the first place,” Ainebyoona said adding that they are eager to add a voice to the Road Safety Campaign.
Plascon who are the leading partner in the campaign are pleased to partner with the Ministry of Works and Transport, City Tyres, Hardware World, Standard Chartered Bank and Nile Special in a road safety campaign that aims at shining a spotlight on the importance of being a responsible driver/road user in-order to avoid the risks and dangers that come with reckless driving.
“As the leading paint and coatings company in the region, beyond selling our products we have an obligation to our customers and societies in which we operate. It is our responsibility to support causes that are impactful to the society, and rarely do causes get any more important than Road Safety. This is a matter of life and death and it ought to be approached with equal seriousness,” — Daniel Kayongo, Brand Manager Plascon noted adding that they will re-paint most of the zebra crossings in the country.
The USPA’s Road Safety Campaign aims to create awareness and educate the public, especially drivers and pedestrians, on the importance of following traffic rules and regulations. The campaign involves partnering with different stakeholders, including government agencies, private sector organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
Through this campaign, USPA has organized road safety seminars and forums, distributed road safety materials, and created social media campaigns to sensitize the public.
Road carnages in Uganda remain a significant problem, with thousands of people losing their lives each year due to road accidents. According to the Uganda Police Force annual crime report of 2020, a total of 3,527 people died as a result of road accidents, while 9,408 others were injured.
Several factors contribute to the high number of road accidents in Uganda, including overspeeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, poor infrastructure, inadequate road signs, and insufficient traffic law enforcement.