By Paul Bal Gatkek, MBA
July 12, 2021 — If you have been to Juba, you may have noticed that its traffic can be crowded, messy, and dangerous. For instance, in the first seven days that I was in Juba, I have counted at least five traffic accidents on Airport Road. One of these accidents was fatal. Such accidents were on Airport Road alone, and given that I do not travel this road every day, I might have missed to count other accidents. Accordingly, it can be argued that traffic accidents, including fatal ones are common occurrence in Juba. Thus, this article will examine some of the major causes of traffic accidents in South Sudan’s largest city. In short, the following paragraphs will discuss some of the major contributing factors of Juba road accidents.
1. Poor Road Condition.
Although Juba is the capital and the only major city in South Sudan, it still suffers heavily from poor road condition. Most roads in Juba are not tarmacked, and the few that are tarmacked are in bad shape and in great disrepair. For example, if you care to observe the roads in Juba, you will notice that potholes caused by lack of maintenance are common sight throughout the city. Such poor road condition is likely to impede traffic flow, a situation that can lead to increased traffic jam. Meanwhile, increased traffic jam can cause frustration and fatigue among drivers which may lead to reckless driving that can cause motor vehicle accidents.
2. Recklessness on the Part of Boda-boda Operators.
Although riding on a boda-boda in Juba is pricier than taking a public transport, many Juba residents nevertheless prefer to ride on boda-bodas because boda-bodas tend to navigate the traffic quickly, access routes with no public transport, and are usually available on demand. However, riding on boda
bodas is dangerous as motor-cycle related accidents amount to large number of accidents happening on Juba roads. This is because boda-boda operators are known to speed, squeezed through tight traffic, and can blatantly ignored traffics rules. Whether you are keen or not, it is easy to observe boda-boda operators ignoring traffic rules by riding on wrong side of roads, riding unto oncoming traffic, and unnecessarily changing lanes without warning to drivers, and other boda-boda operators. Consequently, ignorant of traffic laws by those operating boda-bodas, and their increasing present in Juba is also a major source of road accidents in the capital.
3. Uncooperative and Aggressive Drivers.
For the most part, South Sudanese are generally aggressive in nature. Accordingly, this aggressive behaviour can be seen on Juba roads as drivers disregard traffic laws at will. Other ways that South Sudanese drivers show their aggressiveness while driving include shouting, and unreasonably honking at each other on the roads. These behaviours not only show disrespect to other drivers on the roads, but also lead to road rage, a situation known to cause road accidents. For instance, if you happened to observe a major road intersection in Juba such as the Seven Days Round-about, Customs Round-about, and Juba University Round-about, you can easily see the impatient nature of South Sudanese drivers, and how they pay no attention to traffic laws. Hence, negative driving behaviors that do not respect traffic laws can also be blamed as a cause of accidents in Juba.
4. Corrupt and Irresponsible Traffic Officers.
Juba city deployed traffic officers on some of its major roads. But it is hard to tell that the city traffic officers are doing a good job or even if they know what they are doing. This is because traffic officers do not seem to enforce the traffic rules. Unfortunately, most of them can be accused of being pre-occupied
with collecting illegal money from the many traffic violators they can find on the roads. So, it can be argued that Juba traffic officers pay little attention to the events happening on the roads and leave road users to do whatever they like. In other words, many drivers can be observed talking freely on phones while driving, and they often go unpunished. In addition, drivers can over speed, impede traffic flows, drive on wrong lanes, drive on wrong side of the roads, drive towards oncoming traffic, drive on a one-way road among many other traffic violations known to cause accidents and Juba city traffic officers do not issue traffic fine and penalties that can regulate these reckless driving.
5. Unmarked Roads.
Most roads in Juba are not marked into lanes. Thus, drivers can drive on any part of the roads as it pleases them. Unfortunately, unmarked roads or roads with irregular markings can confuse drivers and are therefore prone to major accidents. In addition to unmarked roads, accidents in Juba can also be blamed on lack of road signs and speed limits. This is because there are hardly roads signs and speed limits on most roads in Juba. As a consequence, lack of road signs, and speed limits, can lead drivers to make dangerous traffic turns that can result to accidents. In addition, absent of speed limits can also make drivers to drive at a high-way speed within the city, thus causing accidents due to over-speeding.
In conclusion, poor road condition, recklessness on the part of boda-boda operators, aggressive driving behaviors, corrupt traffic officers, absent of traffic signs, and speed limits account for the great number of motor vehicle accidents happening in Juba city.
Mr. Paul Bal Gatkek graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Business Administration and Economics, and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Windsor in Canada. He can be reached at email@example.com
The statements, comments, or opinions published by Nyamilepedia are solely those of their respective authors, which do not necessarily represent the views held by the moderators of Nyamilepedia. The veracity of any claims made is the responsibility of the writer(s), and not the staff and the management of Nyamilepedia.
Nyamilepdeia reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author(s). To publish your article, contact our editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.