Kenya’s night travel ban by public service vehicles has resulted in a 25 percent reduction in road accident deaths compared to a similar period last year, the National Transport and Safety Authority said on Thursday.
Chairman Lee Kinyanjui told journalists in Nairobi that the goal is to ensure that there is a 30 percent decline in traffic fatalities on an annual basis.
“We are happy that the travel restrictions that were implemented in December 2013 have resulted in a dramatic fall in traffic deaths,” Kinyanjui said during a forum on road safety.
The day-long brought experts to review ways of reducing road accidents in Kenya.
He said that Kenya is one of the ten countries that account for 50 percent of all global roads deaths.
“This puts Kenya is a bad light especially in the tourism sector,” the chairman said.
He noted that studies have indicated that the night travel ban has not had a negative impact on Kenya’s economy.
“There has been a shift in businesses from one sector to another. More people are now traveling during the day,” he said. The chairman said that short term inconveniences of the ban must be compared with the long term benefits.
“Reduction of deaths as well as insurance claims are some of the benefits that will accrue from the travel restrictions,” he said.
He added that Kenya’s economy loses 5 percent of its GDP as a result of traffic accidents and fatalities. NTSA said that three transport firms have already applied to travel at night.
“However they are yet to fulfill all the requirements,” he said. He added that 80 percent of all roads accidents are due to human error. “The rest are caused by poor road conditions or use of unroadworthy vehicles,” he said.
The laws gazetted that restricted nigh travel required firms to have systems to track and manage speed before they are licensed to travel at night.
“They are also required to have their drivers tested to ensure their eyesight is not impaired,” he said. NTSA said that it has implemented a raft of measures that will reduce the number of road crashes in Kenya.
“We have borrowed from international standards in road safety,” Kinyanjui said. He added that Kenyan laws require individuals to undergo 22 hours of training before they are licensed.
“However there has been little regard for the laws and this has resulted in half-baked drivers,” he said. The chairman noted that currently only commercial vehicles are required to be tested regularly in order to ensure they are meet safety standards.
He added that the government is currently automating its data on the roads sector.
“It will help provide accurate data on the roads users so that it can develop the right policies,” he said.