By Victoria Rubadiri
July, 2011 – In the wake of rising traffic accidents and surging fuel costs, bus drivers are being schooled on improving their skills and fuel efficiency on the road, through something called a Smart Driving Program.
General Motors Communication Manager Ruth Mugugu said the initiative currently targets GM’s fleet customers, already reaching 60 percent of its customer base, to the tune of Sh20 million a year.
“This program is to be able to educate our fleet customers on how they can apply Smart Driving techniques to use less fuel on their daily activities. This helps them conserve fuel which the costs used as a business and make them more competitive,” she said.
It is estimated that road accidents are the second cause of death for children aged between four and 15 years while 80 percent of accidents are due to human error.
Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai cited a clause in the Michuki Rules that calls for drivers to be trained every year, as motivation for the association to advise drivers on the importance of their behaviour on the road.
“It’s not only an issue of saving fuel; it’s behaviour on the road and handling human beings. Road safety issues should also be addressed. This program was to enlighten the drivers on their on their responsibilities,” he said.
However, with the transportation sector being inundated by an influx of Saccos seeking a piece of the Sh50 billion industry, chaos has become a mainstay on Kenyan roads.
With over 200 registered Saccos, Kimutai insisted that self-governance is a necessary element, on the part of the drivers and owners, in ensuring safety on the roads and efficiency of the transportation system.
“When the Saccos are fully functional, the issue of fare hikes would go away. The issue of scrambling for passengers will not be there. The issue of indiscipline will go away. Everybody will comply because it is an issue of self-governance guided by the law,” he said.
He further encouraged other transportation companies to consider the Smart Driving Program for their drivers to help transform the Matatu sector.