The council, established under the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998, to coordinate road safety activities and influence positive road safety behavior, received 150million Shillings from a budget ceiling of 300million Shillings to carry out operations across the country this financial year.
The council, established under the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998, to coordinate road safety activities and influence positive road safety behavior, received 150million Shillings from a budget ceiling of 300million Shillings to carry out operations across the country in the financial year 2014/2015.
The council is responsible for advocacy, sensitisation, awareness campaigns and lobbying for more funding", says Eng. Nathan Tumushabe, the secretary of the National Road Safety Council, which now operates as a unit within the transport ministry.
With the limited funding, the Council was only able to train some police officers at the Police Training School in Kabalye and selected school children on road safety. It also held workshops with a few road users on the high way code. Its major activities were halted, Tumushabe adds.
He says that although the Council maintains a National Office in the Ministry of Works and Transport, it does not have the capacity to open regional offices. The council has five members of staff and has only been in position to acquire one vehicle for its operations.
//Cue in: People don't fearâ€¦
Cue out:â€¦I'm hopeful.//Eng.
Tumushabe is optimistic that with more funding for activities of the council, the public would have more information on road safety which would cause a paradigm shift in the rate of accidents in the country.
Road accidents have shown a downward trend in the country over the last three years. In 2012, 19,870 accidents were reported in the country, 18,368 in 2013 and a 7.6% reduction was recorded in 2014. Ignorance of road safety regulations and weak enforcement of the law are highlighted as the key factors contributing to road carnage.
The National Road Safety Council has been working in collaboration with the Transport Licensing Board, Uganda Police Force, and Uganda National Roads Authority among others to pull resources together to sensitize the public.
Meanwhile, while the council struggles to remain significant in the transport sector, the Ministry of Works and Transport is in the process of establishing the National Road Safety Authority to address the shortfalls that the National Road Safety Council is facing such as under staffing and meager funds.
The World Bank is to fund the operations of the National Road Safety Authority for the first three years from its formation.