Year saw traffic deaths, injuries increase despite safety measures

A Modern Coast Bus that plunged into a river in Kisii County being retrieved on December 28, 2022. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Road accidents led to more deaths and injuries in the year 2022, data has shown.

According to the government, the year recorded the highest cases since independence. 

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), on December 20, released a report showing a three percent increase in road carnage as of December 15, with fatalities standing at 4,449 compared to 4,285 last year.

Of the 4,449 fatalities, 9,357 incurred serious injuries while 6,704 sustained slight injuries even as pedestrians accounted for the highest fatalities at 1,595 from 1,453 in the same period last year. They were followed by motorcyclists (1,190), passengers (793), drivers (403), pillion (motorcycle passengers) at 411 and pedal cyclists at 57.

The months with highest deaths were July and August at 432 and 395, respectively, compared to 2021 at 432 and 395. By December 15, 200 Kenyans had died on the roads, compared to 164 last year.

‘‘This is the highest death toll the country has ever registered since independence,’’ said Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen.

He added: ‘‘We have lost in one year more people than we lost in the entire period of Covid-19 through accidents.’’

The CS spoke when, together with his Interior counterpart Kithure Kindiki, they introduced measures to stop deaths in the festive season.

Murkomen said most accidents happen as a result of avoidable human factors including driving under influence of alcohol, speeding, dangerous overtaking, fatigue and ignoring traffic lights and signs among others. According to NTSA, the leading causes were loss of control, overtaking improperly, failure to keep to one’s side or proper traffic lane, excessive speed and misjudging clearance among other reasons.

He also blamed failure by passengers to refuse to board vehicles that are full as among reasons Kenyans are dying on the roads.


Fatality rates are higher in highly urbanised counties, which is largely attributed to improvement of infrastructure and increase in population.

Nakuru led in deaths at 22 in 2022 compared to 2 in 2021, followed by Nairobi at 15 in 2022 and 10 in the previous year, Murang’a had 11 in 2022 from 5 in 2021 while Kiambu had both 9 in the two years and Machakos had 7 this year and 2 last year.

In 2021, Kitui County contributed six deaths and 3 this year same as Lamu, Kakamega, Tana River.

In terms of which type of vehicle caused many fatalities, motorcycles and private vehicles led at 36 for 2022 each and 26 and 20 respectively for 2021, followed by Public Service Vehicles (PSV) at 23 in 2022 and 16 last year. Next were commercial vehicles at 15 compared to 21 for 2021. In terms of distribution of fatalities across the time of the day, most of the fatal road traffic crashes occurred between 5pm and 9pm.

‘‘This is largely attributed to reduced enforcement during these times, high volumes of traffic and pedestrians (rush hour), pedestrians crossing at undesignated or unsafe areas and getting easily knocked down or run over by speeding vehicles, driver fatigue, poor visibility especially for pedestrians and drink driving,’’ said NTSA’s Director General George Njao. On which days the fatalities happened most, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays led at 28, 26 and 24 respectively.

A Nakuru-based consultant surgeon, speaking on condition of anonymity, blamed the rise in accidents on motorcyclists riding on the wrong side of the road and carrying three to four pillion passengers. ‘‘Ninety percent of the accidents these days involve motorcycles,’’ said the surgeon, who has been doing insurance assessments for road accidents clients.

One of the major crashes this year was in July involving a bus belonging to Modern Coast Services, whose driver lost control, plunging into the river along the Meru - Mombasa highway near Nithi Bridge.

Another happened on December 13 where eight people were killed when two matatus and a truck collided at Ngata Bridge along the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway. This week, a bus plunged into a river in Kisii County.

The Standard
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