KAMPALA, UGANDA: A survey conducted by the Uganda Road Fund (URF) has revealed that nearly 50 percent of drivers and motorcyclists on the roads did not go through proper training.
While presenting the “2021 Road User Satisfaction Report” or RUSS was unveiled on Tuesday, URF Executive Director Eng. Dr. Andrew Naimanye said nearly 50% of car drivers and a majority of motorcyclists have never set foot in a driving school.
According to the report findings, only about 46% of the drivers interviewed had undergone training by a licensed driving school or certified driving instructor. The rest of the drivers were either self-taught (24%) or taught by a colleague, friend or relative who wasn’t a licensed instructor (30%).
“The situation for driver training was much worse among motorcyclists; since only 9% of the motorcyclists reported to have undergone training by a qualified instructor,” the report further states.
The report also indicates that perceptions about safety of the public roads network in 2021 slightly declined from 58% in 2019 to 51% last year.
“National Roads (at 2.52 points) had the highest safety rating of the road networks with DUCAR and KCCA roads scoring 2.35 points each. This represents declines in road safety of 2% for national roads, 7% for KCCA roads and 6% for DUCAR relative to 2019,” reporting findings state.
Although road users generally rated the safety of Uganda’s roads in 2021 at 2.50 which is the threshold of satisfactory findings, pedestrians and cyclists felt unsafe on Uganda’s roads during the period in review.
Results show that a meagre 37% of pedestrians and 40% cyclists felt safe while using the country’s roads.
On the contrary, 61% of motor drivers, Passengers (59%), Bus/Taxi Drivers (57%), truck drivers (54%) and motorcyclists (51%) gave a positive signal.
Reasons advanced were largely to deal with the narrow road widths among other factors.
“Narrow road width was the most common reason why road users felt unsafe on Uganda’s roads accounting for 23% of the reasons for feeling unsafe on Uganda’s road network in 2021 followed by the presence of potholes (18%), reckless driving by motorists (10%) and excessive dust (10%),” Naimanye elaborated.
“Other barriers to safe roads in Uganda included poor road signage (7%), poor drainage (5%), lack of pedestrian pathways (5%) and traffic congestion (5%).”
When was asked whether the existence of narrow roads correlates with Uganda’s road carnage, Naimanye said this is a simplistic assumption.
“I have driven on narrow roads in so many countries across the world and it is very clear that you follow the speed limit. Because if it is 30 and you want to drive at 70 Km/h, that narrow road will punish you,” he argued.
“But even wide roads have got problems, go to Kenya’s Thika Highway, there are issues. I have gotten a recent video whereby people are driving on the wrong lanes and creating problems.”
Road User Satisfaction
Findings from the survey also show that there was a decline in road user satisfaction in 2021 with road users rating their experience on Uganda’s roads at 2.39 points, compared to 4 in the previous year.
Road users attributed this decline to potholes (24%), dust (17%), narrow road widths (15%), poor drainage (12%) and inadequate road maintenance (11%).
With the exception of road drainage where KCCA and national roads had the same score, national roads were rated better than both DUCAR and KCCA roads on all attributes.
The survey was conducted among 2,797 respondents drawn from seven road user groups. These included; pedestrians, passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists, motorcar drivers; taxi/bus drivers, and truck drivers on both paved and unpaved roads, spread across the different regions of the country.
According to a Uganda Police Report, a total of 414 accidents were registered between February 28 and March 6, this year. Out of these, 75 accidents were fatal, 226 serious and 113 minor. In these accidents, 89 people lost their lives while 315 sustained injuries.
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