Road carnage: Speaker’s crisis meeting yields results
The Minister of Works and Transport will table regulations operationalising the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 2019 by 13 August 2023.
This was agreed upon in a crisis meeting convened by Speaker Anita Among on Thursday, 13 July 2023 to address increasing road accidents.
“Whereas the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998 has attendant regulations that have aided its operationalisation, the Roads Act 2019 which addresses various aspects of road safety, does not have regulations,” Among said.
She added, “There is need for regulations to operationalise Section 57, 58 and 59 on the towing and auctioning of abandoned or broken down automobiles on carriage ways.”
While chairing the plenary sitting later in the afternoon, Speaker Among briefed the House that UNRA had offered eight vehicles to tow cars abandoned along the roads.
“UNRA needs adequate resourcing for requisite equipment for communication and towing abandoned vehicles,” said Among.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Works and Transport, the Executive Director, Uganda National Roads Authority, the Government Chief Whip, the Leader of the Opposition, Uganda Police Force and the Ministry of Health.
The meeting resolved that there is need for strengthening roads monitoring and surveillance for amongst others, timely detection and removal of abandoned vehicles on carriage ways and reprimanding errant drivers and road users.
Government was also urged to invest in automatic number plate recognition cameras, linked to ticketing of offenders and speed guns.
“Automation of regulatory and monitoring processes to minimise human contact and reduce incidents of corruption and influence peddling,” read the resolutions in part.
It was also agreed that mass media platforms will be used to educate and sensitise the public on road safety in order to shape road user behaviour.
“The Minister of Information and Communication Technology and National Guidance, and Uganda Communications Commission should ensure the immediate dissemination of pop up messages on road safety to all mobile phone subscribers,” said Among.
She added: “Local leaders should also sensitise the masses on the need to comply with road safety rules and regulations.”
The meeting also called for adequate resourcing of the road safety function across the relevant agencies.
“The meeting was notified that out of the required budget of Shs20 billion for road safety, only Shs5 billion was released,” said Among.
The Speaker further said that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should increase the recurrent budget allocation to UNRA, the works ministry Works and the Police for immediate road safety interventions.
The meeting also agreed that the Uganda Police Force should scale up monitoring and enforce compliance with the right of way and use of lead cars, sirens and LED lights on auto mobiles, adding that those culpable of breaches should be prosecuted.
“Government vehicles continue to be the highest perpetrators of traffic offences including road crashes. There is need for more responsible use of government vehicles backed by sanctions for misuse as prescribed in the Public Service Standing Orders,” Among added.
It was further resolved that installation of speed governors in all vehicles to regulate speeding should be re-introduced.
The meeting also directed UNRA to immediately remove roadside markets and taxi parks that have encroached on roads and road reserves, for example in the areas of Kireka, Kyaliwajjala (Wakiso District), Lukaya (Kalungu District) and Busega in the capital, Kampala.