The Director General, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Francis Meja has given officials of PSV Saccos a seven day notice to comply with all the road safety precautions.
According to NTSA, road accidents have claimed the lives of 2,583 Kenyans while 3,660 passengers suffered from major injuries, while 4,412 sustained minor injuries within the last 10 months.
Speaking to officials of Public Service Vehicles (PSV) Saccos on Tuesday, Meja said that they would not allow further loss of innocent lives caused by sheer lack of complying with safety measures.
“PSVs will not be allowed to operate if they do not follow the order that will be effective from 12th of this month,” he warned.
The Director General also outlined some of the road safety requirements, including seatbelts, speed governors, PSV badges, licenses, and insurance among others.
He termed 2017 as the worst year in the history of road accidents across the country, noting that 358 lives were lost in the month of December alone.
“Just because of ‘making money’ during the festive season, we will not allow road accidents to happen carelessly,” said Meja.
He further asked PSV officials to help the authority in educating members of the public on the importance of fastening of seatbelts, saying that safety belts have saved many people from perishing in horrific accidents.
“From Monday, we are going to inspect whether the seatbelts on your vehicles are working or not. If they are not working, then you are not fit to operate,” added Meja.
The Director of Road Safety, Njeri Waithaka said that public service industry was a key stakeholder and that road safety is a responsibility of everyone, adding that the power to transform road safety is immense.
“You may not be the people driving those vehicles but you as matatu owners can control your drivers and ensure safety of the passengers,” said Waithaka.
Waithika told the Sacco officials to stop overworking drivers and give them enough time to rest, terming fatigue as one of the major factors causing road accidents.
During the meeting, some PSV Saccos who have their own uniforms asked whether it was okay to continue using them, but Meja clarified that traffic rules stipulated that PSV uniforms were maroon and blue and they should stick to that.
“We are treated like bhang sellers while we contribute to the growth of the economy. The police should stop criminalizing our business and extorting bribes from us,” lamented the Sacco owners.
NTSA was established through an Act of Parliament with the objective of harmonising operations of key road transport departments, helping in effectively management of the road transport sub-sector and minimizing loss of lives on our roads.
By Wambui Moraa/Mohamed Ali