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NTSA should stop their PR gimmicks and save lives instead

By Leonida Kombo | January 26th 2016

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has declared a crackdown on matatus that flout their rules. Targeting those heavily covered in graffiti and fitted with loud exhaust pipes. However, this only comes across as some sort of Public Relations strategy. It brings one to question if the authority is really after our safety as Kenyans. A look at their website reveals that there have been slightly more fatalities in 2015 than there were in 2014.

 The NTSA is somehow overlooking more serious factors such as the availability of seatbelts in vehicles and the regulation of boda bodas which meander about town despite being banned from the CBD. In 2015 alone, passenger deaths in these motorbikes rose by a startling 58%. Yet the authority seems to be more concerned about loud exhaust pipes instead of addressing the recommended amount of emissions from the same.

With the rise of terrorism cases, they should focus on enhancing security in our matatus. They could even insist that these vehicles be fitted with CCTV cameras. It doesn’t add up that some PSVs hastily check people with metal detectors in town yet no such security checks are made along the route of these vehicles.

While it is true that loud exhaust pipes are a nuisance, these are just petty issues for now. The late John Michuki showed that it is possible to tame the matatu industry but unfortunately all the policies he enforced seem to have died with him.

 A report shows that road accidents are the third leading cause of death in Kenya. NTSA should drop their PR gimmicks and show us their commitment to saving lives by engaging in more serious matters and working hand in hand with the necessary authorities that deal with marking and signage of roads to reduce accidents.

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