Gov’t to Introduce Automated Testing System for Heavy Truck Drivers

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The Works and Transport Ministry plans to introduce a robust system to test heavy truck driver vehicles as one of the ways of improving road safety. The Works and Transport Ministry is mandated to register and license driving schools. However, there are gaps when it comes to the vehicles used for trainee drivers. 

Judith Karara, the Senior Road Safety Officer in the Ministry of Works, says that they don’t regulate the vehicles used by driving schools for training, which she says is a big gap.

She also notes that there is only one credible driving school for truckers. Karara says that they intend to bridge the gap in accordance with the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998 (Amendment) Act, 2020 through the introduction of an automated system to test drivers of heavy vehicles.  

Karara says that even without compelling driving schools to change the vehicles they use to train truckers, the automated testing system will be compelling them to do so.

Karara says that the amended Act 2020 is a big step toward helping the improvement of road safety in Uganda. She says that based on the Global Status report on road safety, 2018; road transport is the dominant mode of transport but also accounts for the largest proportion of fatalities with over 29 fatalities per 100,000 people. 

According to the 2017/18 Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) report, Uganda loses approximately Shillings 5 trillion due to road crashes as most of the affected people are in the productive age between 18 and 44 years. Karara explains that the amendment was inevitable due to the emerging dynamics of road transport and road safety management such as online digital transport platforms such as Uber, Taxify, Safe Boda, increased the number of road users and accidents.  

She indicates that the ministry has already engaged a consultant to review all the regulations under the Act and draft new regulations where necessary to fully operationalize the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998 (Amendment) Act, 2020.  According to Karara the same amended Act introduces a professional driving Permit away from the general driving licenses for commercial vehicle drivers. 

She says that when it comes to death and injuries due to reckless driving, the Act provides for imprisonment not exceeding ten years without chance of a fine where one is convicted by the court on top of compensating the Bereaved. This seeks to address the research findings in the Evidence-based Healthcare in Africa survey on road safety in Uganda by the School of Public Health, which reports an increase in road crashes.

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