Govt compromising on standards, quality of training drivers

Written By: Muraya Kamunde
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Govt compromising on standards, quality of driver training

The Government will remain non-compromising on the standards and quality of training and testing drivers in the country.

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Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiang’i, has sent a strong statement about the intentions of transforming the bodaboda sub-sector into a respectable investment, telling off leaders who have been politicizing the drive for selfish interests.

“We are working on a new framework of engaging the motorcycle dealers after which we will begin a very active process of supporting the thousands of young Kenyans who rely on the subsector as a source of income. We are not politicians who don’t care about them…they should stay alive to look after their families,” Dr Matiang’i said.

He was speaking at the NTSA Headquarters in Nairobi during the launch of the Usalama Barabarani Programme, which is funded by the European Union to a tune of €5.375 million for a period of three years to complement the government’s efforts towards ensuring a progressive reduction of traffic-related deaths and ultimately sustaining near-zero fatalities.

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The Cabinet Secretary dismissed the narrative propagated by some politicians that the government is victimizing the operators, adding that more efforts and resources will be channelled into training them on responsible road use as part of the long-term interventions towards establishing a safe road transport system.

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He also announced the all-clear for NTSA and other law enforcement agencies to expedite the re-validation of all driving schools across the country with a view to taming backstreet driving schools that have significantly contributed to the upsurge in road accidents in the recent past.

He said: “We must complete the exercise by January 1, 2021, which means we must all move towards the new standards of service provision.” The exercise, which was launched in mid-2019 to establish the compliance levels of the institutions to the provisions and requirements for driving school registration, was slowed down by a court case

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Official statistics indicate that road accidents involving mass transit buses have reduced over the past one year while fatalities involving bodabodas, compact cars, standard passenger vans and pedestrians remain persistently high.

On her part, Amb. Katrin Hagemann (Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Kenya), noted that collaboration and long-standing partnership with the country have yielded the upgrading of over 2000 kilometres of roads in an effort to address the challenge.

Dr Matiang’i weighed in an acknowledged the continued support from the Union and other development partners in an endeavour to institutionalize better road safety measures.

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He singled out the Usalama Barabarani Programme as one of the surefire strategies towards realizing a true change in road user behaviour, which is one of the surefire strategies towards taming the lawlessness that has earned Kenyan roads the dubious distinction of being the biggest death-traps in the country.

According to NTSA Director General, George Njao, implementation of the programme will be deliberately biased, with a major focus on the youth between the age brackets of 18 – 35 years in 6 counties with a high number of road fatalities, namely: Makueni, Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Nakuru, Kericho, Kakamega and Kisumu.

The programme has been tailored to build capacity for NTSA staff; increase public education and awareness on road safety; improve driver training and testing; reduce the number of black spots through road safety audits and road safety improvement programmes.

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