Nearly 3,000 people are killed in road accidents in the country every year, most of them in circumstances that could easy have been avoided. Human error plays a major role in the fatal crashes. This includes speeding, recklessness, driving under the influence of alcohol, and overtaking at blind corners.
Other key contributors to the road carnage are unroadworthy motor vehicles and bad roads. The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and traffic police must help to promote a road safety culture. It’s a pity, however, that the NTSA often comes into the picture after a major accident claims many lives. As for police, the general feeling is that their motivation is extorting bribes from errant motorists and not necessarily enhancing compliance with traffic rules and regulations.
With the increased number of accidents since June, there are fears that the annual death toll could be surpassed. According to the latest report by the NTSA, Nairobi recorded 275 deaths between January and August this year. The national roads agency has cited Mombasa and Outering roads, as the leading in fatalities.
Last year, the NTSA identified some 273 black spots right across the country, 199 of which occurred in the Northern Corridor and 74 in Nairobi. Nationally, some 2,181 deaths have been reported, representing an increase of 276 over the same period last year. Pedestrians continue to account for most of the fatalities, with 839 recorded, compared with 727, last year.
It is important that the number of deaths and serious injuries is reduced. These accidents place a huge burden on the public health sector. The many injured boda-boda riders and their passengers are a huge burden to the health sector. Motorists, their passengers and pedestrians must all play a role in enhancing their own safety.