In response to the recent upsurge in road accidents across Uganda, the Ministry of Health has advocated for the reintroduction of breathalyzers. The devices are used to measure the level of alcohol in a person’s blood and can be used to detect drunk driving.
According to the Annual Police Crime Reports, careless and reckless driving are the leading causes of road accidents in Uganda, followed by the dangerous mechanical condition of vehicles. However, driving under the influence of alcohol is also a significant factor, accounting for 124 accidents in 2022.
Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the director-general of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, said that Uganda has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in Africa. This means that there are a large number of people who are likely to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
The Ministry of Health had advised against the use of breathalyzers in 2020 in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. However, Dr. Mwebesa said that this measure coincided with a sharp rise in road traffic accidents. He also pointed out that the risk of COVID-19 transmission via breathalyzers is minimal, as the Uganda Police Force will use individual, sealed, and disposable tubes for each test.
The Ministry of Health is now calling for the reintroduction of breathalyzers as a way to curb road accidents. Dr. Mwebesa said that the devices are an important tool for detecting drunk driving and preventing accidents. He also urged motorists to be more careful on the road and to avoid driving under the influence of alcohol.
In addition to the reintroduction of breathalyzers, the Ministry of Health is also calling for other measures to be taken to improve road safety in Uganda. These measures include improving the road infrastructure, enforcing traffic laws, and educating motorists about safe driving practices.
The Ministry of Health is committed to reducing the number of road accidents in Uganda. The reintroduction of breathalyzers is one of the steps that the ministry is taking to achieve this goal.