Road crashes are a global health and development challenge with significant human and economic costs, especially in developing countries. The leading cause of death among people aged 15-29, road crashes kill 1.3 million people every year and injure another 50 million. In low and middle-income countries, this is estimated to reduce GDP by 3 to 5%.
In Uganda, the road safety situation has deteriorated rapidly over the last years, mainly due to a number of reasons, which include growing vehicle population, the lack of appropriate road safety intervention and weak enforcement, among others.
According to Ministry of Health Report 2019, the number of road crash fatalities in Uganda rose from 3,503 to 3,800 in 2019 representing a growth of 8.49% , the fatality rate is 8.44 individuals per 100,000 population with accident severity index of 24 people killed per 100 road crashes. This is contrary to the ministerial conference of 2019 where a proclamation was made to halve road crash death by 2030.
In this regard, Uganda Insures Association (UIA) partnered with Hope for Victims of Traffic Accidents (HOVITA) to work for safe roads and healthy mobility and as well as to promote the right of safe roads for road users and victims of road crashes. To improve on post crash response UIA and HOVITA initiated a Motor Third Party Insurance Compensation Project. The aims of this project were threefold; 1) To enhance and promote road safety campaign and associated activities like quick and efficient processing of claims to ease the claimant access to insurance claims departments with minimal procedures, 2) To create awareness and appreciate insurance as a major risk mitigation service in road safety and 3) To provide free information, improve support services for victims and bereaved families.
Having engaged all stakeholders in the Pilot Project area of Kampala Metropolitan that included 5 selected hospitals and two other hospitals along Masaka and Jinja Highways. We embarked on our aim to ensure that road crash victims are compensated within a period of 3-5 days upon submission of necessary requirements using three approaches;
1. Hospital Approach: Road crash survivors’ admitted in the hospitals were assisted by the social workers to process their claims and get compensated before they are discharged from hospital. This enabled them to offset some of their hospital bills.
2. Police Approach: Traffic police officers offer the most immediate emergency services to road crash survivors. With this project, they were empowered to give necessary information to victims on how to process motor third party insurance compensation, updates on court processes and guidance on civil compensation to the victims.
3. I know my rights Approach: This approach applies to those who know their rights, are well informed of steps to take, and can engage in high Authorities once their rights are violated. This approach prevails even after closure of this project.
It is important to note that Motor Third Party Insurance (MTPI) is a statutory requirement under the Motor Vehicle Insurance (Third Party Risks Statute 1989 Act) that covers Insured’s legal liability for death or disability of a third party. The third parties in this case being pedestrians, passengers in the vehicle (non family members), cyclists etc.
HOVITA with its partners sensitised over 5000 people about their rights under MTPI to include; 1) The right to be informed whether the vehicle was insured under section 10 of the Third party risks act 2) The Third party victim has a right to sue the owner or driver of a vehicle that was involved in a motor accident under section 39 of the act and 3) the Right to be compensated under Motor Third Party Risks Act 1989.
In the same spirit we, engaged all insurance companies and brought into being a synchronised claims process that clearly states the requirements to process MTPI claims. And indeed you need to have;
- A Police Report and sketch plans.
- A Medical Report from a recognised Medical Practitioner.
- Medical Bills and Receipts
- Formal Identification/NID
- In case of Death/representatives should present;
1. Death certificate/post mortem report
2. Letter of introduction of beneficiary (ies) or minutes of the family meeting indicating the beneficiary and signed by all persons present in the meeting.
A total of 51 traffic police officer have been empowered to investigate road crashes. This is intended to ensure that conclusive and unbiased police reports are provided so that insurance companies pay genuine claims.
A number of victims have benefitted from this project through compensation and have been assisted with accessories to help them cope and adjust to the new normal after road crashes.
We acknowledge the need to prevent road crashes from happening in the first place. Through this project we are running a “smart Travel” campaign with a slogan a safe journey starts with you. Our focus is bus drivers and passengers and we educate them to embrace and put safety first. Amidst the COVID 19 pandemic we are encouraging them to observe the standard operating procedures in order to stay alive and safe.
Lastly, we love to call up on all stakeholders in road safety to join us in this cause and halve road incidents by 2030. We must remember that, we are all potential victims, pedestrians are the most hit at 40% fatal rate globally and unfortunately we all pedestrians at some point. Let us put our efforts together and eliminate this road incident monster.
For partnerships and collaborations contact us:
HOPE FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS (HOVITA).
Address: P.O Box 26149, Kampala, Kevina Rd, Nsambya.