NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 20 – Over 3,000 lives are lost annually to road accidents in Kenya, placing it among the countries with highest rate of accidents globally, despite its low level motorization compared to other developed economies.
Chief Executive of the National Road Safety Council David Njoroge said developing countries are lagging behind their developed counterparts failing to record sustained progress in cutting road traffic deaths and injuries.
“Projections indicate that unless there is a new strong political commitment to prevention and risk reduction, death rates as a result to road crashes in low and middle income countries will double by 2020 reaching to more than 2 million per year,” he revealed.
Currently an estimated 1.3 million are killed in road crashes worldwide each year and for every death up to 50 people are injured or disabled.
Road traffic injuries are the leading worldwide cause of death among young people between the age of 15 and 29 and second most common cause of death for those between the ages of five and 14 years.
Njoroge was speaking during an event commemorating the World Day for Remembrance of Road Crash Victims on Sunday that drew representatives from the government, private sector and NGOs.
He added that a lack of resources has been a major hindrance in addressing road safety issues effectively often forcing developed countries to rely on donors for financial assistance.
“Time has come for us depart from depending so much on donors. Each person who drives a vehicle can afford a dollar. We have about 1.5 million registered vehicles; if each one gave a dollar that would be equivalent to Sh100 million. So we can raise funds internally,” he said.
To enhance road safety the Kenyan government through the Transport Ministry has facilitated the gazettement of legislation to legalize use of breathalyzers, use of speed camera, regulating motorcycle riding and review of the Traffic Act among others.
Also addressing the forum, Total Kenya Managing Director Alexis Vovk said human behavior accounts for 85 percent of road accidents in Kenya and the region, a figure he stressed is preventative through proper driver training and awareness.
“Several initiatives are lined up for December including hazardous and freight driver training. For 2012 we aim at opening in Nairobi a full-fledge driving school equipped with a modern driving simulator,” he said.
Along with the World Bank Total launched the Africa Road Safety Corridor Initiative in April this year that is geared towards promoting road safety along the Northern Corridor from Mombasa through to Kamapla and on to Kigali.