Our regular columnist Brian Bilal Mwebaze is back to reflect on the number of lives lost in road crashes. Brian gives a unique insight into youth and road safety issues from an African perspective.
March, what a month it’s been!
Boeing 737Max plane operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after take-off enroute to Nairobi from Addis Ababa with 149 passengers and eight crew on board. The crash registered no survivors. A preliminary report was expected on April 1. Tributes and memorial services continue to flow in including on social media. We await the truth behind this occurrence and hope immediate mutually respectful decisions are made to avoid this tragedy.
Back to road safety, in Cameroun, Securoute Association launched a Road safety Campaign at Ngomedzap on the 7th of March 2019 with an aim to sensitise road users, community , children against road safety risks during the construction of Yaounde Ngoumou road connecting to the new deep sea port at Kribi. Considering this is going to be a 2 year road safety awareness programme, we at YOURS hope that this will be as inclusive as possible particularly with youths as a key vulnerable group. Major thanks to SATOM SOGEA and Cameroon Ministry of Publics works.
In Malawi, on the morning hours of 11th of March 2019 five people sustained various degrees of injuries following a road crash at Chichiri Roundabout in Blantyre. A seemingly speeding truck hit from behind a stationary motor which rolled over and hit another motor vehicle which was giving way to vehicles negotiating the said round about before hitting yet another motor vehicle was coming from the direction of Kwacha round about. The said truck then hit the Chichiri shopping mall fence. You might still be wondering, but that’s right, this crash happened on a roundabout! Outrageous right? I know. You would expect cars to be slow, with everybody careful holding out for the right of way rule, but well, that wasn’t the case.
In Ghana, on March 8th, Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah addressing the media, made a huge revelation that a total of 190 people were killed through road crashes in the calendar month of January 2019 ALONE. These avoidable deaths were caused as a result of indiscipline among road users by way of excessive speeding, wrongful overtaking, disrespect for traffic signs but missed out comprehensively covering the safe systems approach to include poor roads and government-licensed vehicles in poor conditions.
In the same country, more than 70 passengers died while onboard two buses that collided head-on in the early hours of Friday March 22, 2019 on the Tamale-Kintampo Highway . Social media was awash with allegations of one of the drivers having slept off. You have to look at how long the drivers drive, whether there’re active checkpoints.
In Egypt, 23 illegal immigrants, of Egyptian nationalities, were injured when their car collided with another vehicle on an oil spill on the road which leaked from the 12-Amal field line in the town of Aqeelah, south of Sidra Gulf.
In Libya, while illegally migrating, 23 migrants were injured while heading to Bani Walid city coming from Tobruk when their car collided with another vehicle as they passed on an oil spill on the road at high speed, causing the two cars to go up in flames.
In Uganda cumulatively, 32 lives were lost on Kampala-Gulu highway in three months between January and March. The residents on the 275km- stretch have, however, blamed among others the lack of humps at the 13 major blackspots, police authorities, Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) engineers and reckless driving for every crash.
Think about each one of the lives mentioned herein. Each one of them has a story. To come to a bitter conclusion that these lives would have been prevented is hard to take. Imagine what happened in other countries not mentioned. Imagine those whose lives were not reported. And you wonder why this is not an outrage! Do your part. Stay safe.