A little discipline, more concern will curb road crashes

Skaters hitching a ride in Kisii town on April 8, 2024. [Sammy Omingo, Standard] 

As an accident victim, I shudder every time I hear of a road traffic accident. Accidents leave repercussions that last a lifetime.

Other than disease, nothing has robbed families of their most productive sons and daughters more than road accidents. Over 10 years later since I had an accident, I thank God I’m able to rise to the occasion and take care of my daily affairs.

However, there are many times I imagine how much more I would accomplish were it not for the accident. I had my accident in 2012. It is in that same year that famed TV journalist Richard Chacha went down the same road.

Chacha was with colleagues Linus Kaikai, Emmanuel Tallam, Ephantus Mwangi and others when they were involved in a freaky accident on their way to Nairobi after a fundraiser in Narok. Since then, Chacha has been confined to a wheelchair and had to abandon his promising and impressive TV career for other duties.

While at it, his colleagues, who escaped with minor injuries, have to continue to thrive. Kaikai is a director at Citizen TV. Tallam is a director at State House. Again in 2012, I lost a college mate, who had just graduated as an engineer and was angling to earn from his patience, sweat and grit.

We all can’t count the number of relatives and friends we have lost to road accidents, from the prominent sons and daughters of the country to the unmentioned heroes and heroines of our families.

Any Kenyan on the street will tell you what we all need to do to reduce deaths and injuries caused by accidents. Just enforcing existing laws and avoiding shortcuts. In an expose done by Chacha, after his ordeal, he exposed how it was easy for people who have never attended any driving lessons to get on the road.

An unqualified driver will cause an accident. A driver under the influence will cause an accident. A fatigued driver will cause an accident.

A driver in a hurry will cause an accident. We have had accidents caused by faulty sections of our roads, which can only be corrected by a redesign.

For years, the 21km stretch of road at Salgaa was an accident blackspot. A concrete barrier constructed in 2018 has done the magic, reducing accidents by over 90 per cent. The spot where several Kenyans lost their lives at Ngata Nakuru has similarly been marked for a long time with no tangible measures.

Following the recent spate of accidents, I saw a suggestion to form an accident investigation body. I support the idea of investigating the uniqueness of each accident, but I oppose the formation of a new body. The existing agencies, such as the NTSA and the traffic police department, are enough.

It is possible to reduce fatalities caused by road accidents. Some countries have maintained less than 5 fatalities per 100,000 people. A country like Antigua and Barbados registered 0 fatalities per 100,000 people in 2005. Kenya registers around 48 fatalities per 100,000 people.

-The writer is anchor at Radio Maisha

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