The Director of Traffic, Uganda Police, Steven Kasiima has urged policy makers to put in place tougher punishments for drivers that cause accidents on the road and kill people.
Kasiima noted that while from 2011 to 2014, there was a reduction in the number of road accidents, the rate has been going up ever since.
Over 35 people have died in the past week in road accidents in different parts of the country.
Last weekend, a fuel truck caught fire in Rubirizi District western Ugandan killing 22 people and destroying more than 100 homes and businesses.
Yesterday, a collision between two trailers on Jinja road killed 4 people.
Kasiima says such incidents can be attributed to bad drivers that drive under the influence of toxins, congestion on the roads which are already narrow, lack of training for heavy vehicles, lack of a proper mandatory vehicle inspection system among others.
While speaking to Logistics stakeholders at the ongoing annual regional Logistics Expo at Sheraton Hotel on Thursday, Kasiima said there is need for government to put in place tough penalties and ensure implementation to deter drivers from driving recklessly
“In the coming bill which will be presented to cabinet soon, we should not give the option of paying fines to drivers that cause accidents and kill people. They should go to prison to keep the society members safe. The current law only charges a penalty of Shs 200,000 which is too small. We need to improve this also” he said
He added, “Ugandans do not fear paying penalties because they are small. Just last year, we arrested over 100,000 people mostly bodaboda riders for driving under the influence of alcohol or without permits and remitted billions to URA, however Ugandans do not fear paying the fines and continue to make the same mistakes on the road”
He further suggested several solutions to traffic accidents in Uganda including decongesting of roads by opting for water and railway transport for heavy goods, mandatory vehicle inspection, separating lanes for vehicles and pedestrians, working, identifying black spots on the roads like Kitigoma in Buikwe district and working on them; introducing automated driving tests, serious training for drivers for heavy loaded vehicles among others.
During the two logistic expo, truck owners were urged to use drivers that have been trained at certified institutions but also put incentives for such drivers to encourage more of them to attain formal training