MPs Reject Mandatory Assistance to Accident Victims
Members of Parliament have rejected a provision in the Traffic and Road Safety Act that makes it mandatory for road users to render assistance to accident victims.
This is one of the provisions in the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998 (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
The Bill, among other provisions, seeks to strengthen road transport regulation and road safety management in Uganda, address existing challenges such as new and emerging trends, increased number of road users including motorcycles, increased road accidents and the need to conform to the regional and international agreements that Uganda is a signatory to.
According to the Bill, road users must render assistance to accident victims including calling for help and contacting emergency services, securing the accident scene, organizing resources to enable first responders to conduct rescue operations, administering first aid and transporting the injured persons to a hospital if no ambulance is available.
The committee chairperson, Robert Ssekitoleeko, said that the provision should be amended.
MPs led by Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba, Opposition Chief Whip, Ssemujju Nganda noted that the committee's recommendation is not different from what has been proposed in the Bill, because both want to impose obligations on road users.
Ssemujju said that assisting accident victims should be voluntary, not mandatory.
Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah asked whether individuals do not have the moral obligation to assist in such incidences and whether it is not possible to put it in the law.
The Minister of State for Minerals, Sarah Opendi, however, says that the law should provide for voluntary assistance if the government wants to achieve the goal of saving lives.
However, Kasilo County MP, Elijah Okupa urged colleagues to support the proposal in the Bill as it is, in the spirit of humanity.
Amuru Woman MP, Lucy Akello, Aringa North MP, Godfrey Onzima and Mbale Woman MP, Connie Nakayenze Galiwango said that Ugandans have been assisting accident victims without a law, therefore it is not necessary to make it compulsory in the law.
The Minister of State for Transport, Joy Kabatsi conceded and the proposal was deleted from the Bill.
MPs, however, approved the proposal in the Bill that makes it obligatory for a hospital, clinic or any other health facility to provide medical treatment to an accident victim without proof of financial ability to pay until he or she has been stabilized.