While the Uganda Road Safety Act was only amended in 2020, researchers from the Makerere University (MAK) School of Public Health’s Trauma, Injuries and Disability (TRIAD) Unit stated there was a need to pay attention to specific omissions to ensure the safety of road users.
According to Esther Bayiga Zziwa, a researcher at the unit, the law is quiet on children using the road and there are no regulations on what seats they should occupy in the automobile, despite the fact that their body mass puts them at a higher risk of serious harm in a crash.
Researchers meeting with legislators at the Parliamentary Forum on Road Safety noted that the country still has many legislative gaps on the majority of road crash risk factors, such as speed, drink driving, and the use of safety equipment, but research shows that enforcing laws and regulations can help far more than instilling behavioral change strategies for road users.
When it comes to high speed as a risk factor, they claim that while there is a speed restriction of 50 km/h on urban roads, the legislation does not allow local authorities to change it based on the circumstances at the moment in a particular location.
Even for helmets, enforcement is lax in the case of motorists, who are one of the most vulnerable groups in crashes, with police data showing that over 1,500 people die in collisions each year and over 4,000 others survive with serious injuries, and the law doesn’t adequately describe what an appropriate helmet should look like and how it can be used.
Despite the fact that the Uganda National Bureau of Requirements has helmet standards that aren’t properly implemented, Bayiga claims that this is the case.
According to academics, these deficiencies would have been covered if Uganda had signed international road safety charters and laws.
Tonny Ayoo, the Deputy Chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum on Road Safety, responded to these concerns by saying that they had taken note of them and that they have now begun pushing for strategy reforms for the second decade of action in order to come up with interventions that work, citing sensitization on proper road use as one of the areas they are looking at.
The MPs, on the other hand, pointed out that funds have been set aside to build a crash data system in which a person engaged in an accident may be tracked from the scene through police, hospitals, and even mortuaries.
This, they claim, is in response to concerns about low-quality road crash data that isn’t representative of the general public.