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Sand Trucks: A Threat to Masaka Road Users

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Kampala-Masaka highway is prone to accidents. Almost no week goes by without an accident being recorded on the highly. Some of the accident victims escape with injuries while others lose their lives. However, eye witnesses blame most of the accidents on drivers of sand trucks.
Sand truck on Kampala-Masaka Highway (1)

Audio 5

Residents of Mpigi district and road users plying the Kampala-Masaka route have asked police and other authorities to tighten their grip on sand trucks, which they blame for the escalation of accidents on the highway.   

Kampala-Masaka highway is prone to accidents. Almost no week goes by without an accident being recorded on the highly. Some of the accident victims escape with injuries while others lose their lives. However, eye witnesses blame most of the accidents on drivers of sand trucks.

The trucks are a common feature on the highway because of ferrying sand from Lwera to Kampala and its neighborhood. Statistics from Katonga Regional Police indicate that from January to May an average of 16 sand trucks were involved in accidents each month.

Felista Nagawa, a resident of Kalagala, says although traffic guidelines set a speed limit in towns along the highway, drivers of sand trucks rarely observe them hence knocking pedestrians. Eddie Ssekamatte, a taxi driver, argues that sand truck drivers are replacing drivers of coaches when it comes to violating traffic regulations. 

He says most of the sand trucks are remodeled to allow them to carry more sand, which affects their stability.

  

//Cue in: “Biroole babittika nnyo… 

Cue out…abantu ababulijjo.”// 

Several taxi drivers suggest that police should set a time limit for sand trucks. Sulaiman Ssemakul proposes that sand trucks should be limited to work between 4:00 p.m. to 5: 00 a.m. when there is less traffic on the road. 

//Cue in: “biroole ebyo… 

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Yudah Sseryazzi, a resident of Buwama town concurs with the proposal to set a time frame for sand trucks, arguing that currently, one truck driver can make several routes, which increases the risk of causing accidents as they get tired.

 

//Cue in: “ebiroowozo byetuwa… 

Cue out…kyububenje.”//     

The Katonga Region Police Spokesperson, Phillip Mukasa notes that traffic police has also noticed the trend. He says police has tried to engage the sand truck drivers and their bosses who have promised to improve on their behavior while using the road. 

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When asked about the way sand trucks load, Mukasa noted that this has been a concern to police, which often impounds the trucks that they think are over loaded.

He however, says the truck driver present documents from the Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA weigh station, saying they carry the approved weight. 

//Cue in: “Incidentally we have… 

Cue out…weight bridge”// 

Mukasa says despite the fact that sand truck drivers at times carelessly use the road, other road users, more so saloon car drivers are equally negligent.

Masaka road is no strange to accidents, some of which are blamed on the slippery road service. However, police have over time insisted that the carnage on the road is due to errant users. 

Early this year, police in Katonga Region working with UNRA carried out an on-spot training for motorists at several black spots along Kampala-Masaka highway to assess whether they know how to respond to different situations and road signage.

According to the recently released police report, over 3,000 people lost their lives in the 12,805 accidents recorded in 2018. At least 5,245 cases were recorded in the Kampala metropolitan area covering the districts of Wakiso, Mukono, Kampala, and Mpigi.