Gen. Katumba Wamala launches 6th UN Global Road Safety Week 2021
The Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has Friday launched the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week 2021 which will run from 17th to 23rd May 2021.
The Global Road Safety Week 2021, is being held under the theme “Streets for Life #Love 30” that calls for 30 km/h speed limit on streets where people Walk to Save Lives, especially pedestrians, cyclists, children have environmental and other social benefits.
According to Gen. Katumba, Uganda is still faced with Road Safety challenges. He cited 2020 where the reported deaths due to road crashes in Uganda were 3,663.
“Just last week on Thursday, 6th May 2021, at Kasijjagilwa Village near Gaz fuel station Kijjabwemi, Butego Ward, Kimanya-Kabonera Division in Masaka City, 15 lives were lost in one accident. The human and financial loss is very huge for a Developing Country like Uganda” the minister said.
According to the 2020 Police Annual Crime Report, more fatalities were recorded for persons below the age of 35years and these accounted for 57% of all the fatalities. This bracket includes school going children most of whom have to commute to and from school which increases their risk of exposure in crashes.
The minister noted that the causes of these road traffic crashes are known and are preventable. “Speeding is one of the contributing factors accounting for 36% of all fatalities in Uganda according to the Police Annual Traffic report 2020. Speed is a factor in over 50% of road crashes in Africa. Speeding makes driving more dangerous because; It reduces reaction time, increases stopping distances, reduces a vehicles ability to break and increases the risks to pedestrians and cyclists outside the vehicle” he said.
Adding that; “Research has shown that reducing speed by 5% cuts fatalities by 30%, I therefore call upon each and every one to embrace 30km/h in urban areas in order to protect and save lives.”
Katumba said that this year’s theme challenges them as leaders at different levels to make commitments at both National and Local levels to deliver 30km/h speed limits in urban areas in order to create safe, healthy, green and livable cities
“I am also aware that this week will be used to launch the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021 – 2030 and its Global Plan, which will align with the Stockholm Declaration that calls for improving laws and law enforcement on behavioural risks, such as speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol among others. Government through my Ministry participated in the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety held in Stockholm –Sweden in 2020 where the Stockholm Declaration was made. My Ministry is therefore committed to implementing policies and interventions that promote walking, cycling and use of public transport as inherently healthy and environmentally friendly modes of transport” he noted.
Cabinet approved the Road Safety Policy in 2014 that guides the development of programmes and activities to improve the road safety situation in the Country.
The Works Ministry also Amended the Roads Act and the Traffic and Road safety Act all with an Aim of providing for safer roads and better road safety management. We are in the process of developing Regulations to operationalise these laws.
Gen. Katumba said that his Ministry as a Lead Agency for Road Safety Management, pledges to strengthen Inter Sectoral coordination and collaboration, and improve road safety legislation and to create a safer, more accessible, and sustainable environment for transport systems as well as for all road users. Low speed streets save lives and are the heart of any community. Therefore 30 km/h speed limits where people and traffic mix make streets healthy and serves to make our Ugandan roads safer for children, pedestrians, the elderly and people with physical challenges who are more vulnerable while crossing the roads.
He urged each and every one to #Love 30 and to fully participate in the Week-long activities to advocate for safe streets.