The adjustment by the Transport Licensing Board and the traffic police to allow return trips for long-haul buses from and to Kampala is considerate. This should ease the current congestion in parks and save travellers from last-minute scramble for taxis and buses this festive season. This tactful move should also knock down the sky-rocketing fares on most routes. Similarly, the ban on round trips for bus drivers is reasonable and should be enforced. This demands the police keep an eye on record of movement of taxis, buses, and drivers at established checkpoints.
Nonetheless, this softening of traffic regulations should not compromise safety standards.On the contrary, this relaxing of rules should loosen up the tense conduct of drivers of taxis and buses during this festive season. The ban on swapping of charted routes by passenger service vehicles should be respected. This means transport operators should observe the regulations and police stringently monitor their movements. This should ensure drivers and vehicles are restricted to familiar routes. The long-run taxi and bus operators should also respect the time lapse between the return trips. This should ensure vehicles are washed, checked, and serviced before use again for safety, comfort and security of drivers, passengers, and other road users.
In sum, all should heed these simple transport safety measures, including wearing of seat belts, avoiding drink driving, speeding, and distractive behaviour such as talking on phone while driving. These oversights not only risk motorists’ lives but also endanger the lives of other road users. As Director Traffic and Road Safety Dr Stephen Kasiima said, 80 per cent of all road accidents in Uganda are because of human error and disregard of traffic regulations. This necessitates drivers to observe traffic rules to ensure an accident free festive season.
Else, these slips result in serious and often more fatal crashes on our roads as cited in the 2013 Annual Crime and Road Safety Report. The traffic report indicates 2,937 persons killed and 12,754 injured in road accidents. This demands extra caution from transport operators and regulators to safeguard lives of Ugandans. Above all, passengers should become co-enforcers of public road safety because they can now match faces of badge wearers against the images displayed in the vehicles and raise complaints against the bus drivers concerned. All these requirements make it everyone’s responsibility to ensure friends and family members arrive at and return safely to their destinations during this festive season.
The issue: Road safety.
Our view: Passengers should become co-enforcers of public road safety because they can now match faces of badge wearers against the images displayed in the vehicles and raise complaints against the bus drivers concerned.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor