UGANDA has banned women from occupying the front passenger seat in trucks. The female passengers are accused of wearing short dresses which expose their thighs, which distracts drivers thus resulting in road accidents.
According to The Monitor, local authorities in Lira City made the decision following a road accident that killed nine people in the Lira area on January 10.
Police attributed the accident to reckless driving, speeding and overloading.
However, female market vendors, especially those in the front cabin together with truck drivers, have also been blamed for numerous accidents on most of the roads in Lango Sub-region.
Patrick Opio Obote, the chairman of Lira City Mobile Market Vendors Association, said some of their female members dress indecently and demand to sit in the co-driver’s seat. He said such women often claim that they do not want to sit behind the truck because of dusty roads.
“To reduce accidents, we have resolved that with effect from Monday, January 17, no woman shall be allowed to sit in front of any truck transporting traders from Lira City to any weekly markets,” he said.
The authorities said it was a common trend among the women in the region, making them a major road hazard. The netizens had mixed reactions to the directive, with some taking to social media to air out their views.
One Twitter user named Edward Ssonko said that this was an excuse for reckless truck drivers.
“How many of these accidents involve women seated at the front and are wearing short skirts? Just produce that report whoever came up with this decision,” he said.
Another user named Izaben asked; “Who has more effect between the one seated in front and the ones outside where the driver’s eyes are all the time? And why only trucks yet there are taxis, buses, and Ubers?”
Others said that the decision was appropriate as Ugandan women often wear short skirts that could distract drivers. The research to prove this is not available.
Dorcus Adongo, a market vendor, said she has always seen her female colleagues struggling to occupy seats in the driver’s cabin.
“These women always wear short dresses. Whenever they reach their destination at the weekly markets in the villages, they take the drivers away to the local bars where they offer them drinks and food,” she said.
Tom Adila, the chairperson of truck drivers in Lira City, said there are some drivers who are not disciplined and law-abiding.
He accused truck owners of employing unqualified people.
“They mostly employ their relatives in a bid to minimise the costs they would spend on paying qualified drivers,” Mr Adila said.
The spokesperson for Lira Urban Transporters Association, Bernard Anyeko Matsanga, said the implementation of the decision is now in full force.
“No woman is allowed to sit in front with the driver, even if you are the wife of the owner of the vehicle, we are not allowing you. Drivers are obeying all the directives and none of them is overloading or speeding. They are driving at normal speed,” Anyeko told Daily Monitor