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New gadget to tame matatu madness

By By Fredrick Obura | February 1st 2013

By Fredrick Obura

Motorists putting lives of passengers at risk through reckless driving, and speeding have been put on notice. This follows the introduction of speed monitoring system in passenger service vehicles.

The joint initiative of the private sector and the Government has seen Airtel Kenya, 2NK Sacco, and the police pilot the project. More than 500 vehicles plying the Nyeri-Nairobi route have been fitted with tracking devices to monitor speed violation.

 Reducing Accidents

2NK Sacco Chairman  James Kahiro said the transport firm is embracing the new system to help reduce accidents  and enable them manage the vehicles effectively.

“ICT is the way to go in business and we want to do this to further enforce compliance to traffic rules rather than evasion,” he said.

The Intelligent monitoring system is capable of automatically detecting when a driver has exceeded the required speed limits.

 In case of such violation, information will be generated and immediately sent to mobile phones and computers linked to the system.

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The Kenya Police traffic commandant Benson Githinji said depending on the outcome of the initiative; the project would be up scaled on both personal and private vehicles.

This, he said, would  help the Government curb accidents. “We have lost 315 lives at the beginning of this year, 130 involving pedestrian, 27 on motorcyclists, and another 27 involving drivers, the remaining involved bicycle operators,” he said.

“This is alarming and we are going to work together with the private sector in identifying such like solutions to restore sanity in our roads,” he said.

Githinji noted that the Government stands a better chance of benefiting from the device in supplementing the work of traffic officers and fighting cases of bribery in the force. He pointed out that corruption in the roads has made it impossible to end accidents.

“Human error accounts for 85 per cent of deaths on our roads, some characters in the police force are tolerating non-road worthy vehicles by accepting small bribes, this is what we hope to eradicate through such initiatives, we are calling on matatu owners to change to such technologies,” he said during the launch.

Airtel Kenya Managing Director Shivani Bhargava said, that his company believed that business was not an end in itself but a means to helping the society achieve more.

“This initiative will help to reduce road accidents on our roads whose direct significant cost in lives lost, social and economic implications cannot be ignored,” he said.

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