Last year, an estimated 3,000 Kenyans died in road accidents — that’s about 11 people a day. And with few sectioned-off paths for pedestrians or bicycle and motorcycle riders along our roads, thousands more have been left severely injured.
Government initiatives like alcoblow, night travel regulations, populating the roads with police officers to enforce traffic rules and decrees to fit every passenger service vehicle with a speed governor and safety belts are expected to lower the death toll this year.
But research has shown that many of the accidents that take place on our roads are a result of distracted drivers. How often do you see a vehicle suddenly slow down or begin to veer off the road because its driver is glued to a mobile phone.
Thousands of accidents, both minor and major, have been chalked up to drivers shifting their eyes from the road to their phone screen on hearing a call or text message filter in. How many times have you flung your phone to the floor or into your handbag because you have spotted a traffic officer up ahead.
DISASTER AND DEATH
Many drivers imagine they are ambidextrous enough to punch in digits and letters while manoeuvring through traffic. Too often, the result of this distraction is disaster and death. One man has taken efforts to stem road carnage in Kenya a notch higher by procuring a hands-free device that could minimise distractions from mobile phones.
Mr Peter Phillip is the CEO of Peel Communications Ltd, a firm that specialises in hands-free systems. The company’s device, which uses German technology, can be mounted on any dashboard to enable a driver speak on phone without removing his or her visual focus from the road ahead.
The hands-free gadget is small enough to become inconspicuous, with only a small one-inch button left on the dashboard that a driver pushes to take a call. “I lived in Israel for some time and noticed that most drivers used such hands-free devices in their cars so that they are able to take calls without even shifting their eyes from the road.
Your are here » Home » Business Beat CEO bids to make Kenyan roads safer with hands-free device BY SENEIYA KAMOTHO Updated Monday, July 21st 2014 at 22:00 GMT +3 Share this story: “It is handy and reduces the deaths and injury that come from veering off the road or having a head-on collision simply because you were texting a friend and looked up too late,” said Mr Phillip.
The system costs Sh8,000. “I looked for options that were not very expensive but that I could give a good warranty on so that Kenyans can afford them and use them for a long time. “Because the button is so small and all the wiring is hidden under the dashboard, the hands-free gadget does not spoil the aesthetics of a car, and it comes with a one-year guarantee.”
Phillip felt that even as he looked to the Government to come up with ways of improving the state of the roads and ensuring training in driving schools is rid of corruption and up to standard, he could, at a personal and micro-level, make a difference in the lives of Kenyans.
“I have always believed that a person can make a positive difference to the environment he or she lives in. “I saw a niche in the market for hands-free gadgets for drivers that would assist them still hold urgent conversations with clients or friends without hampering their co-ordination or focus on the road, that is why I began to source for and sell these gadgets.” He said business has been growing as more people recognise the need for the devices he sells and realise their prices are not prohibitive. “I can see that soon we will be supplying markets outside Kenya with these gadgets.”
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