Coastweek -- The
last year, 2017, ended horribly in terms of road users with
another multiple fatality in the “national” accident black
stretch – between Salgaa and Makutano,
writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.
This time the number
was thirty seven dead (and counting) and many injured.
The reason was an
altercation between a lorry and a bus.
Currently blamed on
a mechanical fault – brake failure.
There were also
several other accidents and almost all were blamed on some fault
or other of the vehicle.
None was because of
something that the driver did.
This will mark the
start of what we would like to see done in the New Year.
Transport Authority or NTSA as well as the Ministry involved and
the enforcement and compliance authorities as well as the
prosecutorial and judiciary functions should all jump in to
solve our driving woes in this country.
It is not the sole
role of the NTSA.
There are a multiple
number of agencies involved in making the changes that are
required to minimise the likelihood of the type of carnage that
we have seen on the roads of Kenya in the month of December.
There is a need to
have a single co-ordinating agency with the powers to call in
all the bodies concerned with road design, use, maintenance and
safety as well as the enforcement of the rules and regulations
for road use and the type of equipment that is allowed on our
All these facets
need to be properly aligned on both short, medium and long term
actions that will bring along lasting behaviour change.
This change is the
only thing that can contribute to sustainable road safety.
I am always
impressed by drivers in the United States who will always stop
at any crossing whether light controlled or not to allow a
pedestrian to cross.
Drivers in that
country will also stop at every junction to check for traffic
even if it is the middle of eth countryside and there is clearly
no other vehicle in sight.
It is an ingrained
They will also let
the first person who arrives at a junction make the first move
and they each take turns in order of their arrival.
There is no marshal
or traffic warden in attendance at any of these junctions and
crossing places yet people comply.
Over the next month
we will set what we consider the agenda should be for this year
in terms of starting the change of our driving habits and
The quickest and
lowest hanging fruit is to ruthlessly enforce compliance to the
current traffic rules.
All this requires is
concerted effort by all the agencies involved.
It is not about road
blocks set up in predictable places in urban areas as well as on
trunk and local roads. It is not about enforcers chasing
It is about spending
a week stopping every driver and telling them that they should
expect stern measures for any infringement of driving rules no
matter how small.
This direct contact
should be complemented by both electronic and print media
education and warnings for a period of at least six months.
After the first
week, the enforcement agencies then swing into action both in
plain clothes and uniformed and ruthlessly deal with offenders.
The judiciary will
need to set up special courts to deal with the flood of
service will need to be well equipped as they will also be faced
with an avalanche of work.
should be set up that are simple to use and also difficult to
manipulate for personal gain.
Just focussing on
enforcing the existing laws for six months will result in a
major change in the way people behave on the roads.
So, Wakubwa -
Boinett, Macharia, Maraga, Matiangi, Meja, Mucheru and Tobiko -
get the troops under your charge to pursue ruthless enforcement
of existing laws in a coordinated manner.
Ensured that the
roads are properly marked up and that road information is
available and visible so motorists and pedestrians know what
they must and must not do.
Get people educated,
informed and aware.
After that it is
then arrest as necessary, prosecute, fine or jail and then mark
up as offenders in a traceable manner.
As Kachumbari says,
Kenyan road users continue to suffer. Enough is enough.
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