Expedite bill on road safety, MPs demand
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has tasked the Minister for Works and Transport to table the Roads Bill, Traffic and Road Safety Act (Amendment) Bill and a report of the audit on the state of road safety in Uganda.
The Bills entail matters pertaining to road designs, definition of highways and strengthening road safety management among others so as to curb the increasing accidents on the country’s roads.
“We will expect your report of the audit after a fortnight but bring your Bills. The first meeting of the third session is for legislation,” said Kadaga.
Works and Transport Minister, Hon. Monicah Azuba Ntege, attributed the delay in presentation of the Bills to absence of a certificate of financial implication.
The Minister made the statement in response to concerns raised by Hon. Isaac Mulindwa Ssozi (NRM, Lugazi Municipality) on the increasing road carnage at the black spots between Mabira forest and Kitega in Buikwe district.
Azuba Ntege said blackspots had been identified by the Ministry of Works and Transport as well as Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and were being studied to seek solutions to the problem.
“The Ministry is currently taking general measures including amendment of the Traffic and Road Safety Act which I will present to cabinet soon” Azuba Ntege said.
Hon. Mulindwa Ssozi noted the reduction on road carnage after setting up the Fika Salama operation along Masaka road, something which he said could be implemented along Jinja Road.
“It is my humble prayer that we set up Fika Salama operations for at least three months, which I know can reduce on the accidents at these blackspots,” said Mulindwa Ssozi.
Members of Parliament also raised concerns over the narrow roads which they said were to blame for the accidents.
“We need large dual carriage roads with at least two lanes from each side on all highways in the country; otherwise, accidents will continue,” said Hon. Margaret Baba Diri (NRM, Koboko).
MPs also noted that humps needed to be considered as a short term measure to check on the carnage along highways where blackspots have been reported.
“We have lost two members of the 10th Parliament on that road and in my view, we should not ignore the issue of humps because accidents affect our people,” said Hon. David Abala (NRM, Ngora County).
Azuba Ntege added that driving licenses will be re-issued to drivers of heavy trucks after a vetting exercise.
“We will vet drivers of goods vehicles by reviewing their accident history, criminal records and eye tests among others before we issue them with driving licenses,” the Minister said.
She adds that among other proposals in the amendment of the Road Safety Act, is the setting up of automated driver testing centers and intensifying road safety awareness.