Be responsible, drive carefully
As is the norm, every year at this time, many of us travel upcountry to be with family as we celebrate Christmas and the New Year festivities. This year is no exception. Many have already embarked on this annual journey and others will follow suit. This is evidenced by the high volume of traffic on many highways with both public service and private vehicles plying their routes of choice. Not even the hiked transport fares can deter those determined to make the journey. A survey by this newspaper early this week revealed that taxi and bus fares showed a sudden surge in prices, which operators said was essential to keep them in business. Fares for travel by taxi from Kampala to Mbale was hiked from Shs30,000 to Shs40,000, Jinja from Shs 15,000 to Shs20,000, Kampala to Mbarara Shs30,000 Shs40,000 and the list goes on. And yet still, the travelers abound.
We wish everyone who is travelling upcountry a safe journey however remember safety is a personal responsibility. Apart from high volume of travelers, the season also comes with a lot of recklessness on the road. As you drive, please obey the road safety guidelines, do not drink and drive and if you are a passenger whose driver is flouting these and other safety guidelines, speak up, it is your life they are endangering. What is the point of being in a rush only to crash and be injured in an unavoidable road accident or even worse, lose your life? So be vigilant and exercise the highest level of maturity and responsibility.
The Works and Transport minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, while launching the National Road Safety under the theme, ‘Safe Speed Saves Lives’ last week advised people to “plan their journeys early and drive at the appropriate speeds” during the festive period. He consequently directed UNRA to re-mark traffic and road signs at known black spots. (See Daily Monitor December 14, “Minister issues new speed limit ahead of festive season”)
He also launched “Fika Salama extra” that will be implemented and enforced by Uganda Police Force on major highways to stop errant driving during the festive season.
This is good as it adds to safety measures being taken to maintain sanity on the roads. However, it shouldn’t be because of police presence on the roads that we behave, it should be out of individual responsibility. The onus is on us all to ensure that we have safe travels and happy holidays.