What You Should Know About The Economics Of Traffic Crime In Uganda


I then asked myself: with disturbing pictures of deaths and injuries from traffic crashes, often splashed allover television, social, and print media, and sometimes physically witnessed along roads, why do car drivers (or even boda-boda riders), and other road users continue to disobey traffic rules?

Chrispus Mayora is a lecturer and health economist at Makerere University School of Public Health

By Chrispus Mayora

TRAFFIC|ACCIDENTS

I have lately been reading about causes of deaths in Uganda, and surprisingly, it may no longer be HIV/AIDS or some disease. Road traffic accidents are now one of the leading causes of death in Uganda and many low income countries.

I then asked myself: with disturbing pictures of deaths and injuries from traffic crashes, often splashed allover television, social, and print media, and sometimes physically witnessed along roads, why do car drivers (or even boda-boda riders), and other road users continue to disobey traffic rules?

This is a question that keeps puzzling many. The answer may partly come from behavioral economics theory. From this theory, Individual behavior is essentially built around incentives (the environment according to sociologists).

This theory avers that human behavior is partly shaped by the environment under which they live or work. The environment creates a framework of incentives that will influence the way individuals live, behave or even survive.

This concept of ‘incentives’ can largely explain driving behavior as well. From my recent interaction with a taxi driver in Kampala, I learnt that drivers sign a contract to deliver around UGX 150,000 daily to the taxi owner. The driver and conductor must also eat lunch and take to their families some food at the end of the day, and then fuel.

We can estimate up to UGX 250,000 for a taxi to meet all expenditure expectations of those who run it. Let us consider a route like Kampala-Bwaise which…

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