Passengers without Helmets to Face Arrest- Police

Experts from traffic police, ministry of works and transport and road safety activists at Hotel Africana.

The traffic police has revealed that it is making consultations with the ministry of works to draft guidelines that would enable officers start arresting passengers on motorcycles but not wearing crash helmets.

Senior Superintendent of Police –SSP Bettina Nalugo, from Nateete traffic police headquarters, said although Bodaboda riders and other motorcyclists are increasingly adhering to the call to wear crash helmets and reflector jackets, the same is not being realized with passengers.

Nalugo said even if all Bodaboda riders wear crash helmets but when their passengers are not, the road crash deaths which have mostly been linked to two wheeled mode of transport will remain high on Ugandan roads.

“When we get done with Bodaboda, we shall go to the passengers. But it is still difficult to implement with the passenger; because you have to arrest the passenger, detain him, process a file and then take him to court. It is a bit tedious since we do not have express penalty for that. But it is something we are looking to,” Nalugo said.

She made the remarks while at a conference organised by Uganda Road Accident Reduction Network –URRENO at Hotel Africana in Kampala. Another thing Nalugo has asked the ministry of works and transport in collaboration with the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to work on steadfast is setting the uniform standards for the crash helmets.

“The ministry of works has licensed training schools for Bodabodas. For us we come in to do sensitization. We decided to focus on the rider. But there should be standards for crash helmets. Having helmet standards will reduce the severity of the injury in case of a crash,” Nalugo said.

A study conducted by road safety experts under the umbrella body Road Safety Coalition Uganda- ROSACU and was released in October this year said most of the helmets on the market were not up to standard. ROSACU also proposed a policy that would compel motorcycle dealers to sell the bikes with two crash helmets.

Eddy Kizito, an official from the ministry of works and transport extolled police and road safety organisations that are conducting sensitizations and implementation measures intended to curb roads deaths.

Kizito said the works and transport ministry will continue to support ideas as well as organisations that are working towards reducing road deaths. Last year, more than 4,159 people died on Ugandan roads of which 1,390 and 512 were Bodaboda riders and their passengers respectively.

Fred Nkuruho Tumwine, URRENO’s executive director, said the government needs to invest more in road safety so that once these regulations are passed, they can support through sensitization and awareness raising. Tumwine believes ideas like enforcing usage of crash helmets for both riders and passengers as well as having standards for the same have potential to tremendously reduce road carnage situation.

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