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Corruption, motorists' violation of traffic rules to blame for increase in road accidents

Wreckage of a matatu which collided with a lorry at Taru, along Mombasa--Nairobi road. 20 people died on the spot. July 9, 2022. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

There has been a sharp increase in accidents in the country in the past few weeks.

Road accidents have been a pressing matter in Kenya for many years, despite several interventions.

In Kenya, road accidents have been cited as one of the top leading causes of death. According to the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Kenya has shown an increase in road fatalities compared to the previous year.

Recently, about 20 people were killed in a road accident involving a matatu and a trailer on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway. The incident came a day after another fatal accident in the Kombani area on the Likoni-Ukunda highway. One person was confirmed dead while five others were taken to hospital after suffering severe injuries. Others are the Nairobi Express Way accidents.

Road safety affects all; from the working Kenyan who commutes to work every morning and evening, traders who have to travel for business, as well as politicians who are on the campaign trail.  

According to NTSA, careless driving has been cited as the major contributor to the rise in accidents. Most drivers violate traffic rules or drive unroadworthy vehicles. Corruption in the traffic management sector has also worsened the situation.

We saw reports of untrained people getting verified as licensed drivers. Further, when one is found in the wrong, many traffic police officers will accept bribes to look away. All these are factors that have created an environment that fosters road accidents.

Driving while drunk, speed driving, and the poor state of roads have also increased the number of accidents.

As leaders traverse the country in a bid to woo voters, they need to tell Kenyans what they have done or plan on doing to address the problem of increased road accidents. Many have steered clear of the problem and only focused on mudslinging and passing blame. 

The national transport safety agency, NTSA, should roll out a campaign to push for road safety. Perhaps more sensitisation is required as well as a crackdown on rogue driving schools in the country.

There's a need for fresh measures to curb accidents and those found guilty are given harsh punishments to serve as an example to other road users. However, all is not lost. Alcoblow is a good place to start as it will keep drunk motorists from the road.

Letter from Rodgers Otiso, Rongo University