Minister of Works and Transport Gen Edward Katumba Wamala has revealed that the fatal bus accident which claimed 20 lives on May 4th, was caused by overspending.
The accident involved a bus number UBA 003S, belonging to the Link Bus Company, which veered off the road and rolled into a tea plantation, at Sebitoli, about 13 Km from Fort Portal.
It was on a morning route from Bundibugyo to Kampala.
Minister Katumba in a statement today, said that the bus driver Paul Sempalagala, 52, despite having a perfect driving record over the past 20 years, appeared to have been overspending on the fateful day.
The Minister, citing investigations carried out by his ministry, said the bus was in a perfect mechanical condition, as so was the road at the accident scene and the weather, all of which pointed to speeding as the cause of the crash.
“According to the on-scene investigations, the absence of skid marks was an indication that there were no attempts by the driver to brake implying over-speeding at the time of the accident,” he said.
“According to some of the victims interviewed pointed to the fact that the driver was over-speeding.”
Katumba further revealed that Police CCTV had captured the bus moving at a speed of 99km/hr 3km before the road crash scene, well above the prescribed speed limit of 80Km/hr.
“This implies that the bus could have been over-speeding at the time of the road crash. The magnitude of the impact as seen from the wreckage points to the fact that the bus was moving at a high speed.”
“The CCTV also captured the driver driving with one arm while the other holding an object yet to be established whether it was a mobile phone or not.” He added.
The investigation as such concluded that the cause of the road crash was “failure of the driver to control the bus due to over-speeding.”
Nonetheless, Katumba said Paul Sempalagala had a perfect driving record with no recorded crash history or reckless driving.
“Information gathered from the regular travellers described him as a friendly and trusted person whose bus commonly tagged as bus No.2 was most preferred to board from Bundibugyo. The driver had no history of alcohol consumption.”
Minister Katumba also announced that he had since lifted the suspension of the operations of Link Bus company after the bus company demonstrated a number of measures taken to prevent similar accidents.
Among others, he said, Link Bus Company was found to be conducting refresher training of drivers as a Company Policy, installed a fleet management system in 80% of their buses, all of which have been newly acquired since 2019.
“So now, Link Bus, the suspension has been lifted, they go back on their routes, but they must only work with buses that have been verified, and drivers who have also been approved,” he added.