•Nominated Senator Imana Falhada Dekow appreciated the Traffic Act provides for special treatment of ambulances when they are taking people to hospital.
•The Traffic Act 403 Section 119 validates traffic Rule 83, which states that ‘Drivers should give right of way upon hearing sirens indicating the approach of police vehicles, ambulances or fire engines.
A senator has called for the designation of special lanes on major roads and highways to ease emergency medical evacuation by ambulances during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nominated Senator Imana Falhada Dekow said the Traffic Act provides for special treatment of ambulances when they are taking people to hospital.
However, the behaviour of most Kenyan drivers make it hard for the ambulances to rush patients in need of emergency medical services to the hospitals.
Dekow said most motorists do not give way for the ambulances forcing them to manoeuvre traffic yet they are carrying critical patients.
“It is important that traffic police enforce traffic rules and ensure motorists who block ambulances are arrested,” she said.
She said the trend is common in towns with high traffic levels, such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru and Mombasa.
The Traffic Act 403 Section 119 validates traffic Rule 83, which states that: “Drivers should give right of way upon hearing sirens indicating the approach of police vehicles, ambulances or fire engines.”
“We are in the middle of a pandemic and without a coordinated response to these incidents; there is a potential of unnecessary increase in morbidity and mortality,” Dekow said.
At the same time, nominated Senator Millicent Omanga wants the Ministry of Transport to explain measures it has taken to ensure matatus resume carrying their full capacity.
The government in April directed public service vehicles to carry not more than 60 per cent of their sitting capacity to allow social distancing.
But Omanga said airlines and the standard gauge railway were carrying their full capacity and so should public service vehicles.
She wants the ministry’s to continue sensitising matatu operators and passengers to ensure they strictly adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.
Omanga asked CS James Macharia to outline measures being undertaken by the government to cushion the PSV industry from severe losses going forward.
“State the penalties contemplated by the government, if any, to be meted out on the operators who fail to comply with the laid-down protocols,” she said.
The lawmaker spoke when she sought a statement from the Committee on Roads and Transportation chaired by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi.