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Lockdown, mobile phones misuse fuel rampant road crashes

Traffic police spokesperson Faridah Nampiima.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The traffic police have cited the Covid-19 lockdown and distractions like speaking on phones as major causes of the rampant road crashes.

Traffic police spokesperson Faridah Nampiima, said their investigations into the recent tyre bursts have established that the bursting tyres are mostly on those vehicles that were grounded for almost two years during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Uganda like the rest of the world instituted stay-home total and partial lockdowns in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19. This situation that started in March 2020 was completely lifted on January 24 this year.

Nampiima said ever since the economy fully resumed, police have been taking keen interest in investigating the increasing incidents of tyre bursts.

She revealed that the findings show that drivers of the vehicles that had been grounded as a result of Covid-19 restrictions did not bother to change the tyres before putting them back on the road.

“In respect of vehicles, to ascertain their roadworthiness, it should be done by all drivers,” Nampiima said. “You are reminded to avoid driving vehicles which are in dangerous mechanical conditions. During Covid-19 lockdown, vehicles parked for almost two years. No one went ahead to change their tyres. People put their vehicles back on the road without changing tyres.”

Some of the road crashes attributed to tyre bursts and have left scores dead include that of May 26, 2022 that occurred in Kyegegwa district involving a Toyota Hiace UBK 077S. This crash claimed lives of five people on the spot and left eight others nursing nasty injuries.

Nampiima has also cited speaking on phone while driving as one of the other key causes of road crashes. She said many people are very careless on roads and most times they are distracted by phones.

Traffic police in the last four weeks, according to Nampiima, have arrested 732 drivers for speaking on the phone while driving. Road safety experts have repeatedly cited distractions such as listening loud music or watching videos as killer practices on roads.

Hope for Victims of Traffic Accidents-HOVITA’s Sam Bambanza said there is need for stricter actions on distracted driving like watching movies or playing video games as well as speaking on phone while driving.

In addition, Bambanza calls for enforcement of existing traffic regulations like wearing seatbelts, respecting speed limits, wearing crash helmets and prohibiting unsafe vehicles from being on roads.

Road killings slightly reduced last month compared to June. Traffic police say July “only”, 289 people were killed in road crashes compared to the 366 deaths of June. However, the number of survivors with horrendous injuries remained high with over 900 casualties.

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