Home NEWS County News Road safety campaign along northern corridor intensified to curb carnage

Road safety campaign along northern corridor intensified to curb carnage

The Kenya Police, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and the Counselling Psychologists Consortium (CPS) have embarked on a two-day road safety awareness drive along the Northern Transport Corridor to enhance the safety of all road users during the festive season.

CPS coordinator Hodari Wagala says the campaign dubbed Road Safety Placards seeks to press for the development of the national speed management policy, the use of cutting-edge technologies in compliance assessment, inter-agency system integrations and stakeholder engagement with parties within the transport sector.

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Wagala has called for speedy implementation of the Intelligent Road Transport Management System, installation of speed cameras along the corridor, black spot mapping and putting up of necessary road signs to avert carnage.

Wagala spoke at Sobea Shopping Centre along the Northern Transport Corridor (NTC) in Nakuru during a sensitization campaign for the community and motorists.

He called on relevant authorities and motorists using the busy Nakuru-Kisumu-Eldoret road to encourage safe and responsible driving.

Wagala pointed out anxiety among motorists as one of the causes of traffic infractions along the way advising motorists with mental disorders to take breaks for counselling at wellness centres along the road.

Participants of the campaign also attributed accidents to over speeding, unauthorized use of the Priority Bus lanes, or Driving Under the Influence of alcohol (DUI).

Unplanned speed bumps along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway are to blame for the rising cases of fatal accidents on the road, the Motorist Association of Kenya has said.

The association said the road design and careless driving have also played a part in accidents that have in the last one month claimed more than 30 lives.

Only seven months ago, 18 people, including students and staff from Pwani University, died in an accident involving their bus and a matatu in Naivasha.

According to CPS, the number of fatal accidents on the highway has been on the rise since the beginning of the year.

“We are deeply concerned with the carnage on the Northern transport corridor .The expressway have turned out to be a death trap,” he said.

Programs manager at CPS Edward Tallam identified Karai, Kinungi, Kayole, Morendat and Marula as some of the new black-spots on the highway.

“We have come to learn that some newly erected bumps are causing accidents. This highway should be expanded to reduce accidents,” he said.

“In our cause, we are looking to forge progressive private public partnerships to establish wellness centers along the highways, to help drivers in distress,” he said.

He urged road safety stakeholders to lay emphasis on attitude and behavioral change during the Road Safety Campaign while the authorities introduce stringent custodial sentences for serial offenders who exhibit fatalistic attitudes on the roads.

Poor road design rather than reckless driving in developing countries is to blame for the high number of deaths and injuries from road accidents every year, a new report says.

The Safe and Sustainable: A Vision and Guidance for Zero Road Deaths, study released three months ago by the World Resources Institute and the World Bank, says that about 1.25 million people are killed and millions others injured in road accidents every year, but the numbers of fatalities could be significantly lower if the roads were properly designed to prevent or reduce fatalities after human error.

According to the report, the most effective way to prevent traffic carnage is adopting a “safe systems” approach.

Data from 53 countries shows that approach which is built on the premise that human error is inevitable but traffic fatalities and serious injuries are not, achieved both the lowest rates of traffic deaths and the largest reductions in fatalities over 20 years, and could save a million lives per year if all countries adopted it.

“We can dramatically reduce and eventually eliminate road crash fatalities if we follow a Safe System approach,” said the head of the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility, Soames Job.

The report recommends city and road planners to, among other things, design roads to move traffic at appropriate speeds, apply design techniques to control speeds and improve visibility at intersections, and physically separate highways in urban areas from pedestrians.

Currently, with the support of the European Union, a campaign dubbed Dere Smart targeting drivers of private, heavy commercial and public service vehicles has been rolled out nationally.

The campaign aims at holding dialogue with drivers for more accountability while at the same time highlighting the need for positive behavior change.

They are also a reminder that we need to address causes of road accidents with more seriousness.  In July 2022, former President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2021 into law, effectively charging NTSA, which among others, reintroduced breathalyzers to deal with cases of drunk-driving. Yet despite it, accidents continue to occur from preventable causes.

These include poorly marked roads, missing road signs, poor road designs, wrong parking of trailers and Lorries alongside roads, speeding, and defective vehicles that continue to ply  roads as a result of corruption by traffic police officers and NTSA officials.

Roads where accidents repeatedly occur should be redesigned for safety. The Salgaa area along the Nakuru-Eldoret road is the best proof that a redesign can significantly reduce traffic accidents.

To address the speed concern, urgent intervention by all stakeholders is critical. The system that the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has adopted in road safety management considers five elements namely, safe road users, safe vehicles, safe speeds, safe roads, and post-crash care.

Dennis Rasto
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