KAMPALA – The Ministry of Works and Transport says all drivers of commercial vehicles will undergo fresh training starting July 1, 2023. The development announced by Winstone Katushabe, the commissioner at the ministry seeks to help curb reckless driving.
Mr. Katusabe was launching a private firm, 5 Keys Driving Systems, a new company that will train Ugandan drivers in defensive driving.
He said after fresh training, the successful drives will be issued with professional driver’s permits.
“All drivers of commercial vehicles will be required to undergo fresh training. This is meant to help reduce the number of road accidents that sometimes come as a result of reckless driving,” he said.
It is not immediately clear whether 5 Keys Driving Systems would be contracted to implement these refresher courses.
“We will have three categories of commercial vehicles to undergo this training. Passengers, goods, and dangerous vehicles are the ones that qualify to get a professional driving permit. In addition to the driving license, you must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are able to pass the areas of training the ministry will take you through,” Katushabe said.
Commercial vehicles including trailers, trucks, taxis, and buses have contributed to the big bulk of the carnage on Ugandan roads.
Gerald Ayebare, the CEO of 5 Keys Driving Systems said many drivers lack basic road skills.
He described defensive driving as a practice of anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others when operating a motor vehicle.
Ayebare said it can be achieved by adhering to general guidelines, such as keeping a two- or three-second gap between the driver’s vehicle and the vehicle in front to ensure adequate space to stop.
It is a form of training for drivers that goes beyond road rules and the basic mechanics of driving techniques.
According to him, it also reduces the risk of collisions and improves road safety.
Jonathan Kasigaire, the Executive Marketing Director for 5 Keys Driving Systems attributed the increased accidents on Ugandan roads to a lack of defensive driving skills by most drivers.
“In December and January, alone, you can see we have lost many people on our roads. We think with the right defensive skills, we can reduce road carnage. Drivers must have the right mindset while on the road, customer care, have a purpose while driving, and a sense of belonging,” Kasigaire said.
“Over 90% of the accidents are caused by us the drivers and this is partly because we don’t have the right training and defensive skills. We think as a private sector, we can help train drivers on Ugandan roads to ensure safety and sanity on our roads.”
He explained that the company will be training individual and group drivers as well as recruiting and training drivers for organizations and companies.
Lawrence Niwabiine, the Traffic Police director, said discipline is key to reducing carnage on Ugandan roads.
“The biggest challenge is we have nurtured indiscipline within ourselves and as a result, we tend to challenge each and every situation and end up going wrong,” Niwabiine said.
He said there is a need for much emphasis to be put on driving training schools to ensure they do a thorough job before releasing drivers onto the country’s roads.
Speeding, the poor state of Uganda’s roads, and overloading have been blamed for the country’s frequent road accidents.
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