Over 4,000 people killed in road accidents this year, report shows

Wreck of a saloon car in which five people died at Naro-Moru area along the Nyeri-Nanyuki highway in June 2020. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

At least 4,104 people have died in road accidents this year, according to the latest statistics from National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

This is an increase from the 3,947 who perished in accidents last year, representing a four per cent increase.

This year’s deaths were recorded from 18,474 accidents.

Those who died were 1,486 pedestrians, drivers (378), passengers (721), pillion passengers (377), pedal cyclists (56) and 1,085 motorcyclists.

“Unfortunately, these numbers will keep increasing if we do not adopt safe road user behaviour and adhere to basic safety practices, including the use of safety belts, and pedestrian paths, among others,” said NTSA board chairperson Agnes Odhiambo who spoke during celebrations to mark World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic victims in Nairobi. 

NTSA data shows another 8,371 people were seriously injured while 6,000 sustained minor injuries.

Chief Justice Martha Koome, who was represented by Justice Richard Mwongo, lamented that courts are taking too long to hear and determine cases relating to road accidents.

“Injuries from these crashes always have the unfortunate effect of turning a previously independent person to rely on others for support. As justice actors, we must take initiatives to ensure effective and efficient justice for the victims of road accidents,” said Koome.

To ease the burden on accident victims, Koome said cases should not take more than three years on trial and one year on appeal.

“Long court trials add trauma to the victims who are mostly nursing injuries during trials but with this benchmark on the responsive justice system, we are certain that we will be able to deliver expeditious justice to Kenyans, including victims of road accidents,” said the CJ.

Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome, who was represented by traffic police commandant Mary Omari, said the National Police Service is leveraging technological advancements to better manage traffic.

The IG said, in partnership with the World Bank, NTSA and other agencies, they will develop an Electronic Crash System (E-Crash) that will compile information on accidents, with standardised entries and automated reports for inter-institutional road safety measures and monitoring.

Victor Mule, who represented the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, called for effective and thorough investigations by traffic police on road crashes.

“They form the bulk of cases registered by the ODPP accounting for close to 50 per cent of all criminal cases registered,” said Mule, adding; “For instance, during the 2020-2021 financial year, Nairobi County alone registered 24,780 traffic cases.”

Victims of road accidents, who spoke at the event, cited corruption, long court trials, and lack of cooperation among government agencies as some of the hindrances to the delivery of justice. 

Among the interventions being undertaken by NTSA to reduce road carnage include the formulation of a National Road Safety Action Plan aimed at enhancing coordination, management and implementation of road safety priority plans.

Odhiambo said NTSA, in collaboration with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), is also developing a road safety curriculum for school children.

Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja called on matatu owners to carry primary school children in uniform free of charge.