Murkomen banks on tech, strict rules to tame road carnage

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen at the Port of Mombasa on December 19, 2023. [Robert Menza, Standard]

Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has termed the rising cases of fatal road accidents in the country a national catastrophe that needs concerted efforts to address.

Murkomen said that the Ministry of Transport is working closely with traffic police officers and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to ensure road safety.

“In the past 20 years, we have been losing an average of 3,800 people annually. Many of these accidents are attributed to reckless driving and lack of respect for pedestrians. Others are caused by overloading and drunken driving,” he said.

The CS said his Ministry will gazette new guidelines on how school transport should be managed given the recent accidents involving students from Chavakali High School, Kabsabet Boys and Kenyatta University.

“To address the problem head-on, we are working to finalise the introduction of digital speed cameras and instant fines for PSVs violating traffic laws. As we intensify joint enforcement of traffic rules, technology will reduce the errant behaviour of road users in the long run," said Murkomen.

He acknowledged calls from Senators Ledama Ole Kina (Narok) and Hillary Sigei (Bomet) for strict enforcement of Michuki rules to tame road carnage.

Murkomen assured Kenyans that the Ministry of Transport is working on new guidelines to curb rising cases of road accidents.

“We are going to employ technology to monitor how vehicles are managed starting with school buses which will be fitted with vehicular telematics,” he said.

The CS said the Ministry will also re-introduce drink-driving tests after Parliament approves a request for the return of alco-blow. NTSA will also collaborate with traffic police in their enforcement duties.

Murkomen raised concern that the number of Kenyans losing lives through road accidents has been rising every year saying this should be taken seriously.

He said that the Ministry was working on installing speed cameras on the roads and introducing instant fines where all traffic violations will be sent to the motorist’s mobile phone.

“We are already in the pilot stage and have so far installed cameras on different roads across the country and the instant fining of drivers going above speed limits, overlapping or committing other traffic offences,” he said.