Poll: little regard for road safety in Kenya


A new opinion poll suggests that a majority of Kenyans do not take personal responsibility for road safety and recommendations have been made for a behavioural change communication strategy.


Ipsos Synovate Kenya Managing Director Margaret Ireri said only 22 percent of Kenyans believe pedestrians have a role to play, with most road users heaping the blame on lack of enforcement of traffic rules by the police and speeding motorists.


“Our findings support anecdotal evidence after many accidents where a driver was driving at high speed and yet they often don’t request them to slow down until it’s too late. The tendency by Kenyans to leave road safety to the police instead of taking personal responsibility for their own safety is the reason people continue to die on our roads,” Ireri said on Friday while releasing the findings of the survey.


Forty-four percent of the 2,000 respondents polled say motorists should be responsible for road safety, while 64 percent said that police should take responsibility for ensuring road safety through enforcement of the law.


The survey was conducted between July 22 and 28, 2012, and data collected through face-to-face interviews at the household level.


Slightly under half (47 percent) believe that drivers are responsible for ensuring road safety. It was highest in North Eastern (58 percent), Rift Valley (56 percent) and Nyanza (54 percent).


Ireri said that less than 10 percent of Kenyans have seen messages on use of safety belts, and how pedestrians should use roads despite road safety adverts being valued at Sh42 million of the Sh6.2 billion overall advertising budget in Kenya.


“The question is… is the message compelling enough, do Kenyans notice the message? We have reached a point where messages need to have a shocking effect so that Kenyans can see that road safety is a very important issue,” she pointed out.


“More effort needs to be put into making road safety campaigns for government agencies more visible to increase their impact,” said Ireri. “Use of celebrities has been proven to enhance awareness levels of public campaigns all over the world.”


The causes of road accidents in Kenya fall into five broad categories. There are those related to irresponsible motorists, poor enforcement of traffic rules, pedestrian related causes, poor road conditions and use of un-roadworthy vehicles.

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