The lack of traffic officers and road signs on the newly constructed Fort-Portal-Bundibugyo road has seen a surge in the number of road accidents. Since the completion of the second phase of the construction of the road from Karugutu to Bundibugyo town eight months ago, no traffic officers have been deployed or road signs erected on the road.
Last month, there were more than ten accidents along the road mainly attributed to reckless driving, and careless use of the road by pedestrians and boda boda cyclists. In October, five people were killed in two separate accidents. Vehicles in Dangerous Mechanical Condition (DMC) are also a common sight along the road. This has raised concern among members of the public who say the road is becoming a death trap.
Fred Kapere, a resident of Karugutu town council says the lack of traffic officers has given room to the road users to flout traffic rules and regulations. Mwesige says some taxi drivers are excited over the new road and over load and speed on the road.
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Christine Marunga, a resident of Karugutu says the lives of school children are at risk since there are no traffic officers to guide them while crossing the busy road to and from school. She says that several pupils walk on the side of the road and could be knocked by speeding vehicles. She believes deploying vigilant traffic officers on the road will force drivers to be more cautious and careful, which will reduce accidents.
There are also no sign posts on some of the black spots along the road. The black spots are at Itojo, Sempaya and Nombe. Some motorists say if the signs are erected, there will be fewer or no accidents. Frank Mugisa, a taxi driver says that the road signs should be erected to guide motorists who are using the road for the first time. Mugisa also says that at some of the black spots, there are many sharp corners, which cause vehicles to overturn.
David Mugume, the resident engineer, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) in Fort Portal says that the road signs are being worked on and will be erected before the end of this year. Noel Irumba, the acting Rwenzori region traffic officer says that the lack of traffic officers on the road is attributed to the inadequate man power in the region. Irumba says majority of the traffic officers are deployed on the busy Fort-Portal-Kyenjojo and Fort Portal-Kasese roads.
He however says that traffic officers will be deployed on the road during the festive season and a traffic officer stationed in Karugutu town council to act on errant drivers who are flouting the traffic regulations.