The Interior Principal Secretary (PS), Dr. Karanja Kibicho, has urged all road users to be cautious while on the road and obey all traffic rules and regulations as the safety of others entirely depend on them.
Dr. Kibicho who was speaking at the Makutano junction in Machakos on Sunday, during the marking of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims urged Kenyans to change their attitudes and shun blame games.
The PS reiterated that road accidents and injuries are sudden, violent and traumatic events, urging all Kenyans to borrow a leaf from other countries who have lower accident rates.
“Their impact is long-lasting, often permanent. Each year, millions of newly injured and bereaved people from every corner of the world are added to the countless millions who already suffer,” he said.
Dr. Kibicho noted that the grief, distress experienced by this huge number of victims and their relatives is agonizing given that many of them are still young.
The PS, however, reiterated that many road crashes could be prevented, urging all commuters not to board overloaded vehicles and to always ensure that they fasten their safety belts in addition to avoiding drunk driving.
He pointed that the government is working on major reforms aimed at harmonizing the work of the Traffic Police and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).
Kibicho further noted that since the beginning of this year, the government has closed down many illegal driving schools that were operating in the country.
The NTSA Chairperson, Alice Chesire, regretted that the number of fatalities on Kenyan roads has increased by 17 per cent from 2,699 in 2018 to 3053 casualties this year.
Chesire attributed the accidents to human error and unroadworthy vehicles, saying that such vehicles will not be allowed on the roads.
She further urged motorists and other road users to observe the Highway Code, adding that licenses for rogue drivers will be cancelled and the culprits prosecuted.
Machakos Deputy Governor Eng. Francis Maliti, pointed that the special Remembrance Day is intended to respond to the great need of road crash victims for public recognition of their loss and suffering.
“It has also become an important tool for governments and those who work to prevent crashes or respond to the aftermath, since it offers the opportunity to demonstrate the enormous scale and impact of road deaths and injuries and the urgent need for action,” he added.
During the emotional event, the NTSA officials and other stakeholders gave family members and friends of road crash victims and survivors a chance to write messages on quilt pieces, which will be joined to make quilt banners.
According to the latest survey by NTSA, males outstrip females in the number of fatalities of road traffic, which indicates that 85.5 per cent of fatalities are males while 16.7 percent are females.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 3,000 and 13,000 Kenyans lose their lives in road traffic crashes every year.
WHO further states that the majority of these people are vulnerable road users mostly, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists, where nearly one-third of deaths are among passengers, many of whom are killed in unsafe forms of public transportation.
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families, friends and many others who are also affected.
The day’s theme “Life is not a Car Part” is based on Pillar 3 of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety – Safer vehicles and is therefore intended to respond to the great need of road crash victims for public recognition of their loss and suffering.
Hence, it has become an important tool in global efforts to reduce road casualties and offers an opportunity for drawing attention to the scale of emotional and economic devastation caused by road crashes and for giving recognition to the suffering of road crash victims and the work of support and rescue services.
Since the adoption of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/5, the observance has spread to a growing number of countries on every continent.
In 2008, remembrance services and other related events were held in such countries as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Uganda and the United States and almost every country in Europe.
A dedicated website was also launched to make the Day more widely known and to link countries through sharing common objectives and the remembrance of people killed and injured in crashes.
By Rachael Kilonzo