KAMPALA, UGANDA – The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and the Uganda Police have initiated the enforcement of speed limits and related regulations on the Entebbe Expressway, also known as the M3. This measure follows a rise in accidents on the road, with many attributed to overspeeding and lane violations. The most recent incident involved a truck colliding with a toll booth earlier this week.
UNRA has reported that motorists exceeding the established speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour are being intercepted at exit points. This enforcement is based on data from a camera control center operated by the police, which records the speeds of vehicles. However, the imposition of the 100km/h speed limit has sparked discussions among motorists, particularly those using the M3, questioning its alignment with the concept of an “expressway.”
UNRA has urged motorists through its social media platforms to adhere to speed limits for the sake of road safety. The imposed penalty of 200,000 Ugandan Shillings for violations has prompted varying reactions. Tony Otoa, CEO of Stanbic Business Incubator, has proposed removing the term “Expressway” due to the speed restrictions. Other motorists have echoed this sentiment, questioning the rationale behind the 100km/h limit on an expressway.
Some drivers have expressed frustration with the speed enforcement. Emma Oboi recounted receiving a penalty for driving at 109km/h and stated his intention to revert to using the older road due to the time delay caused by the enforcement. Taxi operator David Kabanda criticized the 200,000 Shillings penalty, suggesting that police focus on educating drivers about proper usage of the dual carriageway.
Issues beyond speeding have also been raised. Motorists have highlighted instances of slow drivers occupying the right lane meant for overtaking. Suggestions have been made to prioritize educating drivers about lane discipline over speed limits.
Despite the discontent, some motorists opt to use the expressway, paying a fee for quicker travel between Kampala and Entebbe. However, critics argue that the recent enforcement erodes this advantage. Some motorists propose implementing AI-equipped boards with cameras to regulate speed as needed, suggesting this could enhance safety without restrictive speed limits.
Allan Ssempebwa, Manager of Media Relations at UNRA, emphasized that “Operation Fika Salama Extra” will persist, primarily focusing on raising awareness among road users. UNRA clarified that the term “expressway” is not directly tied to speed but signifies the absence of intersections, facilitating uninterrupted driving.
Comparing speed limits globally, UNRA noted that the Nairobi Expressway allows a maximum speed of 80km/h, while other roads in Uganda permit speeds of up to 110km/h. International examples include India with a limit of 120km/h on expressways, Singapore with 90km/h, and New Zealand with 110km/h. Some countries like the US and UK set expressway limits below 113km/h.
Kiyaga Edwin Raymond, the Highway Engineer at UNRA, defended the speed limits on the M3 based on safety considerations. He explained that the road’s design prioritizes safety for those driving at 100 km/h. Higher speeds reduce stopping distance and increase accident risks, particularly on curves with an 800m radius.
Kiyaga compared Uganda’s approach to Germany’s Autobahn, noting the latter’s unique status but also highlighting its recommended speed of 130km/h. He emphasized that even on the Autobahn, drivers bear responsibility for accidents caused by exceeding advised speed limits.
At the conclusion of the initial day of “Fika Salaama Xtra” operation, the highest recorded speed violation was 150km/h by a female driver of a Subaru vehicle, according to UNRA’s Allan Ssempebwa.