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Shortage of speed guns hampers traffic police work

FILE PHOTO: Stephen Kasiima speaking to the media

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Shortage of speed guns is hampering the work of traffic police officers on major highways.

According to the Police Director in charge Traffic and Road Safety, Dr Stephen Kasiima, the police have only about 20 functioning speed guns.

Kasiima revealed this at the launch of the North Eastern Road-Corridor road safety audit report at Hotel Africana, on Thursday.

A report on a study by Safeway RightWay-Uganda recommended 16 modern speed guns for enforcement of traffic regulations on Tororo-Mbale-Soroti-Lira-Kamdini corridor.

The recommendation for speed guns on highways was prompted by a study that revealed that because of low hourly traffic volumes on the road, this creates free flow conditions and freedom to choose own travel speeds.

The freedom to choose own travel speeds may according to the study lead to frequent violation of the posted speed limits increasing the risks of accidents.

Responding to the recommendations, Dr Kasiima insisted that they have no speed guns to deploy on the highways.

The use of speed guns or radar gun technology is used by police to assess whether a vehicle is within the speed limit.

Police often use the equipment to arrest the offenders since they not do only detect the speed of a vehicle but also tell whether a vehicle is approaching or moving away from the law enforcers.

Dr Kasiima adds however that the use of palm fixed speed guns has become ineffective because drivers warn fellow drivers on the road of police presence.

Henry Aggrey Bagiire, the Minister of State for Transport says government will consider including provisions for more speed guns in the next financial year.

It is believed that because of some inefficiency such as inadequate speed guns by law enforcers, majority of accidents on major high ways in Uganda have been attributed to over speeding.

A study by the World Bank found that reducing road traffic deaths and injuries could result in substantial long-term income gains for low and middle-income countries.

Using detailed data on deaths and economic indicators from 135 countries, the study estimates that on average, a 10 per cent reduction in road traffic deaths raises per capita real GDP by 3.6 per cent over a 24-year horizon.

The study also finds that countries that do not invest in road safety could miss out on anywhere between 7 and 22 per cent in potential per capita GDP growth over the 24-year period, a justification for policymakers to prioritize investments in road safety.

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