Risk Factors and Traffic Accidents in Uganda: A case study of Commuter Taxis in Kampala Meropolitan South,Policing Station
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Road traffic accidents result from the interaction of several factors associated with the traffic system. They include; the population behaviour, the road environment and the motor vehicle condition. Although there are inadequate studies done on road traffic accidents and road safety in Uganda, the year 2015 Uganda Police traffic reports indicated that 81% of the road traffic accidents were due to human factors, 15% were due to unknown causes, 2.5% were due to motor vehicle condition, while the rest was due to road environment and weather condition. Despite the low vehicle ownership, the Uganda road traffic crash rate per motor vehicle, estimated at 120 persons per 10,000 vehicles remains high. This study investigated the risk factors associated with the road traffic accidents of commuter taxis in the Kampala Metropolitan South policing region in Uganda. The specific objectives were ; to establish the association between population behaviour with the road traffic accidents; to find out the extent to which the road environment associates with the road traffic accidents, and determine the extent to which the motor vehicle condition associates with the road traffic accidents of commuter taxis in Kampala Metropolitan South, policing region. Guided by the Systems Theory and the Model for Traffic Accidents, the study adopted a correlational research design on a sample of 87 respondents, mostly involved in commuter taxi operations and traffic and road safety management. Data were collected by use of questionnaire survey and interviews, and analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Qualitative data was analysed using content analysis. Descriptive findings of the study revealed that road traffic accidents were high, hence considered a public health problem. It was concluded that the interplay of the risk factors within a traffic system had a significant and positive association with road traffic accidents in Kampala Metropolitan South policing region. Generally, the study revealed that joint variation of the population behaviour, the motor vehicle condition and road environment respectively, accounted for 88.1% of the road traffic accidents while 11.9% of the road traffic accidents were due to causes unknown by this study, which however, showed a 3% change in the causes of road traffic accidents due to unknown causes as reported by traffic police in 2015. Hence, a deduction was made that the potential for road safety improvement significantly lies in influencing the population behaviour to relate responsibly with other factors in the traffic system. It was recommended that mitigation into road safety will be attained through influencing the road user behaviour change. Therefore, the agencies involved in road safety management should make effort to sensitise the road users on traffic laws and road safety generally, by publicising the RTAs impact. Similarly behaviour change strategy has been effective in the prevention of risky social habits and epidemics. Public sensitisation option is relatively cheaper, wider community based and may lead to permanent behavioural change. Effective road user information should be communicated using drama/entertainment, sports, mass media campaigns and formal training at various levels. The Ministry of Works and KCCA should improve the road with emphasis on informative road signs which are clear from causing driver information overload. Road surface improvement should be followed by training on the use of the same road infrastructure. The traffic police should emphasise population behavioural oriented enforcement approach and as well as ensuring safe vehicle standards. The government should provide conducive environment encouraging the importation of new and safe vehicles with improved safety features and genuine vehicle components through fair taxation policies.