NTSA to take reckless drivers head-on to curb road accidents

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The National Transport and Safety Authority says human error is the biggest contributor to road accidents.

Director general Francis Meja on Friday said drivers can either save or end lives depending on their decisions.

“The number of people we are losing on our roads is unacceptable. Our biggest challenge still remains the drivers whom we are now going to zero in on. We will now be focusing on the drivers and their behaviour,” he said.

Meja spoke at Jogoo House, Nairobi, following a joint press conference with the National Police Service over the Thursday night road accident that left 13 people dead on the Kisumu-Kericho highway.

Meja sought to assure that the authority will follow the law and make sure licences of drivers who are putting lives at risk are withdrawn early enough. He said the crackdown has started.

“In a meeting held on September 25, 2019, chaired by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and attended by all county commanders and the NTSA, we agreed that to reduce the number of accidents we have to deal with the drivers,” he said.

“Road safety is a problem that requires a lot of intervention from all stakeholders. We must all play our roles.”

PSVs have been blamed for being the biggest contributors to road accidents. However, there has been a massive shift and PSVs have now moved to position four, thanks to some interventions.

NTSA director general Francis Meja and police spokesman Charles Owino address the media at Jogoo House, Nairobi, on October 4, 2019

INCREASED NUMBER OF FATALITIES

Data from the NTSA show that as from January to October 1, at least 2,640 deaths are due to road accidents, an increase compared to 2,278 deaths during the same period in 2018.

Private cars now rank the top-most contributors to road accidents, leading with 702, commercial vehicles second with 597, bodaboda riders at 542 and PSV with 411.

Pedestrians continue to lead in fatalities with 1,033 having died in road crashes this year, followed by passengers at 542, motorcyclists at 537, pillion passengers at 254, drivers at 253 and pedal cyclists at 53. This is an increase from the same period last year when pedestrian deaths were 882, passengers at 521, motorcyclists at 422, pillion passengers at 186, drivers at 233 and pedal cyclists at 42.

Meja said the authority is worried about the bodaboda sector because fatalities are increasing at 30 per cent. NTSA officers got back on the roads 10 months after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered them out of all roads. They have partnered with the Traffic Police in a new crackdown that commenced on Tuesday.

POLICE CAUTION ON SPEED

The National Police Service has urged all road users to be extra careful, observe the highway code and avoid exceeding speed limits, more so at night, to avoid accidents.

Police spokesman Charles Owino said the accident at Pala, Kisumu, involved a passenger bus KCF728G belonging to Eldoret Express. Some 51 passengers were on board, driving towards Kericho. It collided with a truck, KBS 744T (trailer ZE 0256) that was heading to towards Kisumu.

He said Preliminary reports indicate that on reaching Pala area, the bus driver lost control and drove on the opposite lane, occasioning a head-on collision with the truck.

“Eleven passengers and both drivers lost their lives instantly. Passengers who sustained injuries were rushed to different hospitals for treatment,” Owino said.

The bodies were moved to the Ahero Subcounty Hospital mortuary.

“Eyewitnesses and people from the bus who were not seriously injured claimed the oncoming truck was on very high speed and it did not dim the lights and the driver seemed to have been blinded, lost control and ended up in a head-on collision,” Owino said.

“But this is subject to further investigations.”

SOURCE: the-star.co.ke

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