A probe report into the Link Bus accident that killed 21 people has ruled that the cause of the accident was human error. The accident occurred at Sebitoli along the Fort Portal-Kampala highway.
Following the crash, a joint team comprising ministry of Works officials, police, and the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) was established to find out the cause of the accident. According to the findings, the cause of the accident was overspeeding.
“According to the on-scene investigations, absence of skid marks was an indication that there were no attempts by the driver to brake implying overspeeding at the time of the accident…the magnitude of the impact as seen from the wreckage points to the fact that the bus was moving at a high speed,” the report reads in part.
Addressing journalists at the Media Centre on Friday, the minister of Works Gen Katumba Wamala, said that although the driver of the bus, Paul Ssempagala had over 20 years’ experience as a driver with no recorded crash history or reckless driving, he was captured by police CCTV moving at a speed of 99km per hour above the prescribed speed limit of 80km per hour.
The driver was also captured driving with one arm while the other holding an object suspected to be a phone. Wamala also lifted the suspension on the operations of Link Bus company. Wamala said the decision to lift the suspension follows an investigation into the accident and adequate measures that have been taken by the bus company to improve safety.
"Having gone through all the processes and also being convinced that Link Bus has taken all the necessary steps to address the challenges, plus also that Link Bus also acted humanely, they met the burial expenses, looking after the injured passengers but most importantly, they had an elaborate inward look and they have put in place measures to address gaps which were there, we have decided that now we're lifting the suspension and they can now go back on their route," said Wamala.
Katumba also said that only buses and drivers that have been verified by the ministry will be allowed back onto the road.
"Apart from the investigations team that went on the site, it stopped the operations of Link Bus, the idea behind us stopping the operations of Link Bus for at least two weeks was not meant to frustrate bus transport or the transport industry, it was not meant to cause financial loss to the company. It was not an erratic decision, it was a well informed decision because we wanted to use the time, one; to establish the cause of the accident, two to conduct investigations and we come up with a report which report we shall also be putting on the floor of parliament. Three; to ensure that we work with Link Bus and also the Uganda Bus Association to address the issues which we thought were behind the cause of the accident," he added.
Winston Katushabe, commissioner of transport regulation and safety, says that a monitoring tool will be used in other buses on all routes sharing information and live feeds to traffic police command centres and to the ministry of Works. Katushabe, says that police will also start carrying out inspections of buses when they are still in terminals to ensure that they meet the standards.