Government Spokesperson Colonel (retired) Cyrus Oguna has called for attitude change among Kenyans in order to reduce the number of accidents on our roads.
Oguna voiced concern over the increasing number of road crashes in the country noting that by June 27 this year, more than 2,200 lives had been lost through road crashes, adding that this was an increase of 10.5 per cent as compared to 2,057 deaths on the same date in 2021.
“Pedestrians continue to be the most vulnerable group of road users, with 816 of them having died as of June 25, 2022. This translates into a 20 per cent increase compared to the 681 who died in the same period last year,” he said and attributed this largely to reckless road users.
He was speaking during a collaborative road safety awareness campaign between his office and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) at Gilgil area a long Nakuru -Nairobi highway in Nakuru County on Thursday.
Oguna said if this trend on road crashes is not checked, 2022 may set the grim, and unenviable record of having registered the highest number of deaths and injuries for hundreds of people across the country.
“The heightened political campaigns where groups hop from one rally to the next within a short period of time have increased travel across the country, thereby exacerbating the number of highway crashes,” he noted, adding that it is unfortunate that most of them need not happen, they are preventable.
The Government Spokesperson attributed the crashes on our highways to human error or behaviour which he said accounts for a staggering over 85 per cent of the crashes. These human errors include: exceeding speed limit, reckless, aggressive driving, bad road attitude (no courtesy), bullying, drunk driving, overlapping and general disobeying of traffic rules among others.
Oguna said to counter this, NTSA is going to closely monitor fleet data of Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) and a prohibition order would be issued against vehicles exceeding stipulated limit or those found to be tampering with the speed limiters.
In this regard, random checks for drivers and passengers along major highways shall be conducted day and night to check use of seatbelts, overloading and validity of driver documentations; and drivers and or PSV SACCOS/Companies found flouting the traffic regulations will be apprehended and risk having their licenses cancelled and or caveated.
The Government Spokesperson warned vehicle owners, Sacco or company officials to ensure their vehicles are in good working condition adding that they are obligated to undertake mandatory Motor Vehicle Inspections in line with NTSA regulations among other legal requirements.
Oguna said safety on the roads required collaboration between the Government and the citizens and reiterated that every road user should consider road safety as an individual investment for the greater good of the society as opposed to it being an expectation of the law.
“We must therefore exercise patience, courtesy and respect while on the road. We must be ready and willing to share the road with other users,” he said.
As the Government continues to enforce highway regulations for management of traffic on our roads, Oguna called on all Kenyans to be more vigilant during this time and beyond, by avoiding getting onto unauthorized vehicles, those which are operating beyond capacity, or are un-roadworthy and more importantly, the vehicles should be driven within the prescribed speed limit, while observing all traffic rules.
National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) estimates that 3,000 Kenyans die from road accidents every year – costing the country anywhere between 3-5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Sadly, these numbers have been increasing every year. For instance, data from police indicate that a whopping 4,579 people were killed in accidents in the country in 2021 which is way above the estimated 3,000.
This represents a 17.3 per cent increase from 3,707 people who died in 2020 which is considered to be the highest in five years. 16,046 other people were left nursing injuries as compared to 3,500 in 2020.
Many of the accidents occur over the weekends and holidays with the hours 5:00PM-8:00AM being considered as peak accident hours with drunk driving and carelessness being cited as some of the major causes of these accidents.
The majority of these people who die in these accidents are vulnerable road users – pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists. In addition, nearly one-third of deaths are among passengers – many of whom are killed in unsafe forms of public transportation.
By Mabel Keya – Shikuku