The Government has embarked on a 30-day road safety campaign, aimed at addressing challenges leading to road traffic crashes and reducing the number of fatalities.
The campaign, which began, Monday, has so far impounded 1,700 vehicles to ensure efficient and sustainable enforcement and increased compliance with the provision of the Traffic Act and the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) regulations.
Speaking when he led government officials in the exercise at the Daystar-Lukenya junction along the busy Nairobi-Mombasa Highway, Government Spokesperson, Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, said that the Rapid Result Initiative (RRI), will be seeking to get rid of vehicles operating without a valid Service license.
“The government aims at eradicating those vehicles with expired or without PSV badge, drivers operating without uniform and a driver’s license, as well as other violations, including operating uninsured motor vehicles, excess pillion passengers, worn out tires, defective motor vehicles and those exceeding the speed limit,” said Oguna.
The Government Spokesperson pointed out that the exercise which is being conducted by the National Transport Services Authority (NTSA), in collaboration with the National Police Service, among other government agencies, will target motor vehicles that operate with number plates that are not prescribed in the country, cars fitted with throb lights without permission and those with flashing lights without authorization.
He said the new crackdown will also see the rules introduced by the late Transport Minister, John Michuki, brought back to effect on Kenyan roads, particularly vehicles operating without an inspection sticker, those without a speed governor, issues of obstruction and reckless driving.
Oguna noted that the owners of the impounded vehicles have been arraigned in court in the last three days since the government launched the countrywide operations.
“Some 1, 700 vehicles have been impounded within the last three days, since we launched RRI nationally. If we can get such a number of vehicles within three days, what about in a month?” Posed Oguna.
The Government Spokesperson stated that the crackdown is set to bring back sanity on Kenyan roads, citing that over 9,000 lives have been lost in the last two years, with over 30, 000 injured.
“We are here for a very important exercise of protecting the lives of Kenyans. Road accidents are on the rise given that every day we are losing citizens who are crucial in building the country’s economy,” said Oguna.
“As a government we must take action and cannot afford to relax when we are losing all these lives. Last year, at a time like now 612 lives had been lost, but now the number has escalated to 706 lives,” he said.
Oguna further said statistics show that 70-90 per cent of the accidents have been attributed to human error, where he cautioned drivers against careless driving and high speed.
He stated that road safety is a shared responsibility, where he urged boda boda operators to use reflective jackets and wear helmets, adding that pedestrians ought to be cautious and not to use their phones while on the road.
“Some drivers depict an outright, blatant disobedience of traffic rules and regulations. Some vehicles are un-roadworthy since they do not have brake lights, reflectors among other mechanical issues,” said Oguna.
On his part, NTSA Motor Vehicle Inspection Deputy Director, Eng. Joel Opere Nyaroya, said that the Authority ensures road safety through the engineering aspect, where vehicles have to be mechanically road worthy.
Eng. Nyaroya added that to ensure road safety, the vehicles must have the right safety features such as the chevrons and reflectors.
He lamented that most accidents occur when a vehicle is parked on the road with poor retro-reflective materials hence other motorists may not see it clearly.
“Commercial and public service vehicles must have speed governors. They must also have proper retro reflective materials to avoid accidents and well installed seat belts to save the passenger in case of an accident,” said Eng. Nyaroya.
He noted that NTSA works together with other road agencies such as Kenya Urban Roads Authority, Kenya National Highway Authority and Kenya Rural Roads Authority, to ensure that the roads that are not in good condition are fixed.
Also present during the function was the Athi River Deputy County Commissioner, Charles Wambugu, who said that the RRI is aimed at sensitizing and enlightening the public to follow traffic rules, so as to save lives on the road.
He said that most accidents can be avoided if only the drivers of both public and private vehicles as well as boda boda riders would stick to the traffic rules where he urged motorists to be respectful of other road users.
By Rachael Kilonzo and Anne Kangero