Motorists will now be subjected to random tests to ascertain the level of alcohol in their system following return of the alcoblow starting yesterday.
According to the National Transport and Safety Authority, this has been necessitated by a sharp rise in road accidents, majorly attributed to drunk driving.
NTSA says 60 people died in road accidents between October 2 and October 4, the weekend following the reopening of bars.
The eased restrictions were announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 28, after bars, clubs and other establishments had remained closed since March, over the Covid-19 pandemic.
Majority of fatalities witnessed in the three days were among pedestrians (23), compared to 16 deaths of motorcyclists. Other casualties include four drivers, one cyclist, and 16 motorcyle riders and nine motorcycle passengers.
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“From October 2 to 4, 2020 a total of 60 persons lost their lives, of which most of the accidents were attributed to speeding and drunk driving,” said NTSA in a statement.
In light of the alarming rise in road fatalities, the authority announced it would take harsher measures to promote road security, one of which is the alcoblow tests in major towns across the country, beginning yesterday.
“The National Police Service will undertake nationwide enforcement operations to address factors such as speeding, lane indiscipline, assessment of general compliance with Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licensing requirements, a crackdown on unroadworthy vehicles among other traffic offences.
Additionally, random drunk driving tests shall be conducted in major towns from today henceforth,” said the announcement by Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and NTSA Director-General George Njao.
In January 2018, the president ordered the withdrawal of NTSA officers from the roads and instead directed that monitoring of road safety would be done by traffic police officers.
The return of the alcoblow device on the roads marks the first time case of the mass use of the devices since the Covid-19 pandemic. There have been concerns that use of the device by police could foster transmission of the virus.