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Experts Urge Government to Address Rising Child Road Fatalities :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Experts Urge Government to Address Rising Child Road Fatalities

Mable Tomusange, a road safety expert and founder of Consult Africa Usalama, emphasized the need for detailed data analysis to effectively tackle this issue. She noted that police reports often lack the necessary breakdowns, such as the ages of the children affected, their activities at the time of the accidents (e.g., walking, standing, or riding a bodaboda), and the specific locations where these incidents occurred.
Fred Tumwine ROSACU Chairman addressing participants at Consultative meeting on the development of safe school zone guidelines
Road safety experts and child rights activists are urging the government to swiftly address the alarming increase in child fatalities due to road crashes. Recent traffic police statistics reveal a disturbing rise in the number of children killed on the roads, from 650 in 2022 to 872 in 2023—an increase of 222 deaths.

Mable Tomusange, a road safety expert and founder of Consult Africa Usalama, emphasized the need for detailed data analysis to effectively tackle this issue. She noted that police reports often lack the necessary breakdowns, such as the ages of the children affected, their activities at the time of the accidents (e.g., walking, standing, or riding a bodaboda), and the specific locations where these incidents occurred.

"This number of children dying on the road every year is too alarming. We appreciate the police for providing this data because it helps us understand what is happening to our children on the road. But we can only address this problem if the data gives us details on who are the most affected children, in terms of age group, and where these children were when they were crashed," Tomusange said.

Immediate suggestions to mitigate this crisis include enforcing speed limits, especially in areas frequented by children, and developing comprehensive short-term and long-term strategies. These discussions took place during a consultative meeting focused on drafting safe school guidelines, supported by Hope for Victims of Traffic Accidents (HOVITA).

Sam Bambanza, a road safety expert and founder of HOVITA, pointed out that current police data is lacking in specifics such as the time of day when crashes involving children occur. He stressed the importance of these details for future preventative measures.

Bambanza explained that the forthcoming safe school zone guidelines aim to influence various aspects of road safety, including road construction, school licensing, and the implementation of speed calming measures. 

"The safe school zone guidelines will inform school proprietors on how and where to set a school gate for pedestrian children and those who come in vehicles. If the school is near the road, the guidelines will show these owners that the gates are supposed to be built at points with less traffic," he said.

Fred Tumwine, chairman of the Road Safety and Advocacy Coalition Uganda (RASACU) and founder of the Uganda Road Accident Reduction Organization Network (URRENO), highlighted the necessity of extensive sensitization to ensure the effectiveness of the guidelines. "We have so many schools in built-up areas, and we need to sensitize drivers and ensure law enforcers can enforce the prescribed speed limits. We need to have basic children safety standards," Tumwine stated.

Cuthbert and Tomusange also called for the implementation of speed limits within school premises, noting that some parents drive too fast, endangering children. Bambanza and other experts agreed, emphasizing the need to educate school owners and administrators about their responsibility to enforce these speed limits to protect children.

The meeting concluded with a consensus on the urgent need for detailed data, enforcement of speed limits, and comprehensive guidelines to ensure the safety of children on the roads.

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