Let traffic police, NTSA ensure safety on roads

The scene of a tragic accident involving three vehicles - a lorry, bus, and a private car at Nyanja area in Kamara along the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway on October 7, 2023. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

There has been heightened movement on the roads as Kenyans living in urban areas travel to their rural homes to join their families for Christmas and New Year festivities.

Gridlocks were witnessed on major thoroughfares, especially the Nairobi-Mombasa and Nairobi-Nakuru highways.

There is thus need to fast-track the dualling of the Rironi-Mau Summit Road and the Nairobi-Mombasa expressway to address the problem of congestion and slow speeds that has persisted for years.

However, of major concern is the need to ensure safety on the roads to avoid losing lives during this period.

In the past, people have needlessly been killed due to reckless or drunk driving, or failure to adhere to traffic laws.

At other times, accidents have occurred because motorists are not courteous to fellow motorists, pedestrians or boda boda riders.

They do this by overlapping or driving on the wrong lanes in the name of saving time. 

This despite campaigns launched by the government with the aim of promoting safe travel.

This year, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has initiated the Usalama Barabarani Festive Season Campaign, which aims to curb the number of accidents during this period.

According to Murkomen, majority of accidents can be prevented by adhering to safety rules, noting that 90 per cent of mishaps result from unsafe road user behaviour.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and the Traffic Police must thus redouble their efforts to enforce the law.

They should not spare anyone found overloading, speeding or drunk driving. Ultimately, however, motorists must take personal responsibility for the choices they make while on the roads.

As Murkomen noted, they need to minimise the motivation behind risky road behaviour.

There is no need to be in a rush since you might not even reach your destination—you will be dead or in hospital.

Instead of speeding to reach wherever you are going, plan early so that you have ample time to drive within the stipulated limits and also respect other traffic rules. 

Also, stick to the refrain not to drink and drive. This is because alcohol slows down one’s reactions and impairs judgement, making driving unsafe and putting them, and others, at greater risk of accidents.

We agree with the CS that drivers also need to be aware of the dangers of fatigue, as it is one of the main causes of road accidents and hence the need to plan properly on how to rest during their journey.