Uganda: Bus Driver in Viral Video Texting While Driving Arrested As Police Tightens Noose

Traffic police in Kampala have arrested a bus driver filmed while using his phone to send several text messages while driving .

Traffic police in Kampala have arrested a bus driver filmed while using his phone to send several text messages while driving.

In a video that went viral on social media, after being filmed by a concerned passenger, the driver is seen sending messages in what appears to be WhatsApp while driving.


On several occasions, the driver was seen turning eyes onto the phone and using one hand to drive the bus in a video that caused alarm among several members of the public.

On Wednesday, traffic police announced the arrest of the driver identified as Philip Tenywa , a driver of YY bus company and on the fateful day, he was driving bus registration number, UBF 006L from Kampala to Lira.

“Upon receiving the video, we called the company and the General Manager took action to bring us the driver who is with us now at the Traffic Directorate headquarters in Nateete. We are going to take action on him for using a phone while driving,” the Traffic police spokesperson, ASP Faridah Nampiima said .


She noted that using the phone is not only an offence but can also lead to accidents since it distracts the driver’s mind from the road to the phone.

“We should not risk people’s lives while on the road. We urge passengers in public service vehicles to always speak out if they see any form of such behaviour by drivers and if they don’t change, call our toll free lines or record such videos and send them to us.”

The YY Bus company General Manager, Emmanuel Wabwire said they acted after receiving complaints from police and the Ministry of Works about one of their drivers who was using the phone while on the road.

“We summoned all the drivers around the terminal and shared with them the video. We later arrested our driver Tenywa. We apologise to Ugandans for the incident but commit to make sure our drivers are disciplined while on the road,”Wabwire said.

He said the driver will later receive a two week suspension after being penalized by police over the offence.

According to the Traffic Police spokesperson, texting while driving could land a driver into a shs100,000 fine.

“Those found using a hand held telephone while driving are liable to pay a shs100,000 fine. Even the Bluetooth and headsets are all part of the telephone and if found using them, you will be liable to pay the fine,”Nampiima said last year.

“If you need to communicate on WhatsApp, Twitter , facebook or any social media platform, do it while you have parked the vehicle. If you are found with that phone using it to do anything like WhatsApp, you are to pay the fine. If you use the phone to respond to a WhatsApp message and you are caught, the offence stands since you have used a hand held mobile for communication.”

Police tighten noose

In a similar accident, police have arrested yet another driver for using the phone while driving.

Fikiri Brown Joseph, a driver with Global bus company, was arrested at around 8pm driving while on the phone in an incident captured at Kyengera along the Kampala-Masaka highway.

He slept at Kyengera Police station after being arrested on Wednesday.

The incidents come on the backdrop of several bus accidents that have claimed the lives of many passengers and other roads users.

A night accident along the Gulu highway last week claimed the lives of 19 people when a Robyln bus rammed into a stationary trailer that was offloading cassava near Corner Kamdini.

Another accident this week saw a speeding bus lose control and overturn in Nakasongola along the Kampala-Gulu highway injuring 16 passengers.

Police recently announced the reinstatement of identification badges for all passenger bus drivers .

To this, all the identification details for drivers including the name, driving permit number, class and photo are to be sent to traffic police but also the same including photo are to be pinned in every bus for passengers to view.

The police have also asked all bus companies to present their route charts to ensure they are followed by bus drivers.


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