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Just Focussing On Enforcing Existing Laws
For Six Months Will Result In Major Change?

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.

The cause?

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.

The National 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 roads.

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 habit.

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 culture.

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 miscreant trucks.

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 offenders.

The prosecutorial service will need to be well equipped as they will also be faced with an avalanche of work.

Payment methods 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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