We all can stop accidents on our roads by subscribing to ethical conduct

 

Members of the public thronged the Narok traffic vehicle accident yard to see two vehicles that were involved in a head-on collision killing seven people on the spot. [George Sayagie, Standard]

The upsurge in the number of road accidents occurring in the country should worry all Kenyans.

The latest statistics from the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) as of April 1st indicate that 1108 people lost their lives through road accidents.

According to NTSA, road accidents in the country have risen by seven per cent. Alarmed by the rise in accidents, the Ministry of Roads and Transport launched the National Road Safety Action Plan 2024-2028 on April 17, 2024, aimed at safeguarding the lives of road users in Kenya.

The key initiatives of the plan include improvements to road infrastructure, vehicle safety standards, stricter enforcement measures, heightened public awareness campaigns, post-crash care services, promotion of safe driving practices road safety database, and monitoring and evaluation systems.

It is undisputed that unethical conduct and corruption have, to an extent, played a role in the occurrence of accidents on Kenyan roads.

Majority of the motorists whether driving vehicles, riding motorcycles, commonly referred to as bodaboda, more often than not engage in unethical conduct and corrupt practices.

An observation on the behaviours of Kenyan motorists shows that impunity, unethical conduct and corruption have played a huge role in the occurrence of road accidents.

Some of the common offences include, overtaking dangerously, drunk driving, speeding, freewheeling, using a mobile phone while the vehicle is in motion, driving on pedestrian walkways, and riding a motorcycle without protective gear.

Despite many media reports of road accidents occurring almost daily across the country, one cannot fail to witness motorists driving carelessly or breaking the regulations with impunity.

Why are these lawbreakers on the roads so bold? The culprits always break the laws and circumvent punishment because they have a mind-set of influencing the traffic police officers who have no integrity, by paying bribes.

It is no secret that the public service vehicles commonly known as matatus and buses pay some fee daily to the traffic police at the roadblocks. 

In July 2022, Kenya Urban Roads Authority Director Wilfred Oginga said about 57 per cent of road accidents in Kenya are caused by human error. 

Road crashes are the leading cause of death among children and young people between the ages of five and 29, and the twelfth leading cause of death for all age groups. A report by NTSA indicates that 4,324 people died in road accidents in 2023.

The most affected categories of persons were pedestrians and motorcyclists. What is the responsibility of a citizen in preventing road accidents?

Upholding discipline by every user is key to preventing accidents. To avoid more deaths on our roads, all citizens should be responsible by being ethical people.

Let us avoid situations where we break the traffic laws because we are ready to bribe and get away with misconduct. The traffic regulations will not help in curbing road accidents because unethical behaviours will still be a major contributing factor to the problem. 

Every motorist should always be responsible for his or her safety and that of other road users by acting responsibly while on the wheel. The rise of road accidents calls upon Kenyans to act decisively and observe discipline to stop the frequency of the accidents. 

According to a report by NTSA, at least 22,885 people were involved in road accidents in 2023. The authority listed 13 leading causes of accidents in Kenya. NTSA revealed that losing control was one of the main causes of road crashes, accounting for 929 deaths.

Road accidents should be minimal in Kenya, which is East Africa’s largest and most important business, financial, and transportation hub.

The Government can put in place all the necessary measures to resolve the road carnage but Kenyans have a key role by ensuring that there is observation of discipline and ethical conduct on our roads always.

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