(Laban Wanambisi) Parliament on Wednesday concluded debate on changes proposed to the Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2012 which, among other things, seeks to impose life imprisonment for any motorist who causes death by dangerous driving.
Similarly, any person found driving under the inﬂuence of alcohol faces a jail term of up to 10 years, a Sh1 million fine or both.
Joint Government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo said the move is to curb the growing incidences of drink-driving, which have led to fatal road accidents.
While thanking MPs for supporting the Bill, the Gem MP who authored the document said that he was also in talks with the Ministry of Transport to merge the provision of a similar titled bill, which had been approved by the Cabinet recently.
The Bill now moves to the committee stage where MPs will scrutinize, debate and approve or reject amendments to it.
The Amendment Bill proposes to raise penalties for breaking traffic rules and causing accidents in an effort to restore sanity on Kenyan roads.
“Unless we do something to control our roads, too many people will continue losing lives. We can’t just sit back and watch,” said Midiwo.
He also said that he would try to arrange for talks with various stakeholders such as the police and public service vehicles operators.
The Bill further seeks to do away with officers attached to the Traffic Department, so that enforcing traffic rules will become the responsibility of the entire police service to stem bloodletting on the highways. But this has been opposed by the Traffic Commandant and the Matatu Welfare Association (MWA).
While the Commandant argues that the disbandment of the unit will lead to chaos in the transport sector, MWA says the move will lead to harassment of their members.
“I am going to be calling a meeting of stakeholders. We have realised there are people who have interests, people who deal with road safety; we realised that there are concerns from the police and also general concerns from the government. Let me say the purpose is to create debate on the Kenyan roads,” assured Midiwo.
He said the motivation behind doing away with the traffic department was because when accidents occur, regular police officers must wait for their traffic colleagues to act.
“Police should be trained to handle all crimes. It is for us to tell the police what to do, and not for them to tell us what they want to do,” he added.
Meanwhile, to stop the sale of stolen vehicles, owners will now have to hand over the number plates of their cars to the Kenya Revenue Authority before completing the sale. Number plates for vehicles whose insurance lapses for over 30 days will also have to be given over to the KRA, which the Bill now vests with ownership of the same.