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Opinion: We must stop wanton deaths on our roads

By The Standard | February 3rd 2017

Figures released by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) indicate there is a fatalistic attitude to accidents among Kenyan road users, especially pedestrians.

Every effort has been made to guarantee the safety of pedestrians while crossing busy roads. In the days when vehicular transport was light, it was notable that drivers obeyed traffic signs and had respect for Zebra crossings. Not anymore.

The speeds at which vehicles move on highways necessitated change of tack, hence the erection of footbridges to save time, life and limb.

Most Kenyans, however, would rather tempt fate in their mindless haste, to personal safety. Pedestrians have been killed right under footbridges. There are cases where others have been killed while walking on busy roads when there are safe foot paths.

In some places, authorities have gone the extra mile to ensure safety by erecting barriers at danger zones to dissuade pedestrians from using such spots. Alarmingly, those barriers are brought down as soon as they are complete to make it business as usual. These tendencies must stop to save lives.

In the first 30 days of 2017, NTSA statistics show 109 pedestrians have lost their lives compared to 103 in the same period last year. To date, 253 Kenyans have lost their lives on roads. In the month of January alone, 164 people have sustained serious injuries yet in the same period last year, there were 147.

These indicators show despite all the measures put in place to curb road deaths, we are far from realising our goals, yet it is not so difficult to do so with just a little effort.

Law enforcers also sleep on the job. Most accidents happen between 1700 hrs and 2200hrs mostly on Fridays and over the weekend. This is when there are few or no traffic enforcement officers on the roads yet, coincidentally, the time most people pick to over indulge. Together, let’s stop being grim statistics and make our roads safe.


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