Buses to be inspected before schools open

Traffic police officers inspect a school bus in Burnt area after it was involved in an accident with a saloon car along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway on September 26, 2023. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

The government has, once again, spelt out new measures to curb road carnage following public outrage.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen warned that passenger service vehicles (PSVs) which flout traffic regulations will be impounded and their owners or operators charged.

Murkomen said they will monitor the speed of PSVs and commercial vehicles, enforce the ban on overloading of goods and carrying excess passengers, and weed out PSVs contravening licensed routes.

The ministry will also conduct compliance assessments of PSV Saccos, mount anti-drunk driving operations on roads and conduct verification of National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA)-issued licenses to restore sanity on the roads.

Murkomen said unlawful lights mounted on motor vehicles will also be removed.

According to the ministries of Transport, and Interior and National Coordination, they will utilise a multi-pronged strategy that includes paying special attention to public education and risk-targeted enforcement.

Murkomen said that they appointed 228 individuals to join the County Transport and Safety Committees (CTSCs) two weeks ago to help drive enforcement in 38 counties.

“Appointments to the remaining nine counties will be made in the coming days. This week, the National Police Service will appoint county traffic enforcement coordinators to complement the work of CTSCs,” said Murkomen during a joint press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday afternoon.

The meeting was also attended by Principal Secretary, State Department for Transport Mohamed Daghar, Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo, Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome and NTSA Director General George Njao.

In the new rules, all learning institutions will be required to present their vehicles for inspection by May 1 ahead of schools reopening.

The exercise is aimed at assessing their mechanical soundness and whether their speed limiters are functional.

“School vehicles carrying children are restricted to operate between 6am and 7pm,” said Murkomen.

There will be immediate compliance requirements with KS 2295 – 2018 standards on maximum road speed limiters for motor vehicles. Murkomen said this is to ensure speed limiters fitted on PSVs and commercial vehicles are functional, limiting speed, storing data, transmitting speed data every five seconds and onboarded onto the NTSA Intelligent Road Safety Management System.

“All institutions and companies are required to present their vehicles for compliance checks with the relevant speed limiter vendors within 14 days, failure of which all NTSA-issued licenses will be invalidated,” he added.

Also under compliance, all PSVs (seven-seater and above) and commercial vehicles with a tare weight of 3,048kg and above will be presented for compliance checks with the relevant speed limiter vendors within 30 days. Failure to do this, Murkomen warned all NTSA-issued licenses will be rendered invalid.

The National Police Service and the NTSA will heighten night enforcement and random checks along major highways, with a major focus on blackspots.

They will also ensure that stalled vehicles are removed from roads at the owners’ cost.