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On road safety, it has been unfulfilled promises all through

By Moses Michira | Published Wed, January 10th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 9th 2018 at 22:14 GMT +3
National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Director General Francis Meja addressing a past press conference. [BEVERLYNE MUSILI]

Emergency medical centres along the major roads are among the lofty plans the National Transport and safety Authority (NTSA) had when it came into being. That was in 2012 when the agency was formed raising hopes that its officers would replace the corrupt traffic police that were roundly blamed for road carnage that has worsened.

It would cost the Kenyan taxpayers over Sh15 billion, according to the agency’s projections. Emergency healthcare facilities every 100kms at Sh1 billion. That wowed road users.

Road accidents have only increased in the six years of NTSA’s existence, partly attributable to  increased number of cars on the roads. Although the safety agency pledged to cut crashes by at least 30 per cent, that has not happened.  

This is how the elusive targets would have been achieved. All private and public vehicles older than four years were to be inspected annually to ensure roadworthiness. With an age limit at eight years for importation of used cars, nearly all vehicles on the roads could have been due for inspection. A budget of Sh400 million was planned for the inspection, which has not started specifically for personal vehicles.

All four public motor vehicle inspection centres around the country were to be rehabilitated with installation of new and modern structures and equipment at Sh478 million. Plans to outsourcing motor vehicle inspection services seem to have been scuttled.

NTSA also expected that the 500 patrol vehicles acquired would help in enforcement of the tough laws. Budget shows that the required hardware, including the vehicles and breathalysers used to nab inebriated drivers, would cost Sh5 billion.

NTSA would also install 1000 fixed cameras on black spots and major highways at another Sh5 billion.

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It would establish 200 regional enforcement units around the country at Sh1 billion. More cash would be spent to recruit 50 county coordinators at Sh150 million a year, and another Sh100 million a year to run county committees.

It is perhaps in reviewing and auditing of road reserves that NTSA may have achieved least. Its officers were to carry out extensive audits on road sections where accidents happened most.

It would cost Sh100 million to develop capacity for review and audit roads designs, including all new ones.

NTSA also planned to improve driving skills and competence of drivers by developing a curriculum for driver training and regulations for driving schools and instructors.

Another Sh1 billion would be spent on developing standards for automated model driver testing and examination centres.

The agency hoped to automate detection of traffic offences.

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