What road accidents cost the economy

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As the world marks the day of remembrance for road traffic victims, Kenyans woke up to news of a grisly accident at Teachers near Salgaa that claimed eleven lives. The 11kms stretch along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway is one of the deadliest black spot in the country which has claimed hundreds of lives over the years.

Ironically, road safety and National Transport and Safety Authority officials were marking the world day of remembrance for road traffic victims a few kilometers away at Karai, Nakuru. The World day of remembrance is dedicated to remembering the many millions killed or injured in road crashes and their families and communities.

So far, 2397 people  had died in road accidents from January to November 9, 2017, according to data from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA). Majority of the deaths are of pedestrians (907), passengers (575) motorcyclists (410) drivers (265) and pillon passengers (197).

Majority of these deaths in Kenya like other developing countries have been attributed to the failure to rigorously implement policies and programmes to meet the sustainable development goal of halving the number of road deaths and injuries by 2020.

The recently published WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety cites the absence and the failure to strictly enforce the wearing of helmets by both passenger and cyclists, drunk driving, failure to use seat belts and poor enforcement of road safety laws due to corruption as contributing to the increase in road accidents and fatalities.

A 2015 report by NTSA indicated that road accidents cost the economy at least Sh300 billion a year with the most affected age groups in terms of fatalities being those aged between 20-44 years with the peak age being 30-34.

Those who survive suffer disabilities as well as long term psychological effects which present undue strain on both the government and the survivors’ family in terms of provision of healthcare.

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