NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – The government is being urged to complement the use of traffic cameras to reduce road accidents with key driver and motor vehicle information like photos and registration numbers which are electronically captured by intelligent systems.
National Road Safety Director Alfayo Otuke indicated that unless this is done, the intensity of accidents and incidents may not necessarily reduce.
“Irresponsible and ignorance-related road crashes account to approximately Sh4.5 million losses to Kenya’s economy exclusive of actual loss of life due to road accidents, as per the World Health Organization 2012 Report. Improving road safety has been a key focus for the National Roads Safety Agency through ensuring best practices are adhered to by motorists and pedestrians,” he stated.
He was speaking during the annual National Roads Safety Awards dinner that recognises various companies in the transport industry where Glory Driving School scooped the Best Safe Driving School award in 2014.
Sameer Africa won the Best Tyre Manufacturer, Delight Cabs took home the Best Taxi Service Provider, Coast Bus was awarded for putting in place the Best Roads Safety Measure Campaign. Makini Schools won the Best School Transport Service Provider, and Easy Coach Limited was awarded the Best PSV Company of the year, among others.
Otuke said that the best driving school award was based on the quality of both practical and theory lessons administered to trainees by the school and other value add courses like basic vehicle maintenance with an aim of promoting safe motoring.
While receiving the award for Glory Driving School, Pride Group Managing Director Hasnain Noorani stated that every student is provided with a driving syllabus that contains detailed aspects of driving from starting a car, to applying basic vehicle manoeuvres for example hill balancing etc.
“The curriculum also entails theory lessons, which are delivered through PowerPoint presentations to encourage easy understanding, along with that we have other value adding courses such as free mechanical course, advises on buying a car, and first aid knowledge,” he said.
Noorani further noted that Kenya as a country has adequate legislation and laws that if well applied, could greatly contribute to the reduction and near-elimination of road carnage.
“The use of the speed guns, speed cameras and alco-blow went into effect as of 2011. However, the availability and meaningful use of these gadgets is quite wanting. Unless the new traffic rules are properly designed and implemented, the intensity of accidents may not necessarily reduce,” he said.
He however decried legislative change as slow and in most cases a result of the lack of prioritising on the imperative issues.
“We do have regulations controlling the age of cars being imported; however, we lack one that controls the maximum age and roadworthiness of automobiles on our roads. Another fine example is the constant unrealistic increase in the fines and prison terms issued to one who breaks the traffic laws. In some cases, the amended traffic Act 2012 has increased fines by more than 900 percent. What this has brought about is an equal increase in bribery of traffic police officers that nab rogue drivers,” he stated.
Noorani indicated that while heavy fining and prison terms may reduce road carnage and force adherence to traffic law, it could work short term since the key focus should be on how to improve the implementation of the regulations illegally acquired driving licenses and substandard speed governors.
Deputy Governor, Nairobi County Jonathan Mueke, also stated that road accidents are not a natural disaster and stressed that to reduce such cases, a change of attitude is required among motorists and all the other stakeholders in the transport industry.
“In 2011, WHO estimated that Kenya lost USD 4 billion annually due to road fatalities, given that the GDP in 2012 was USD 37.23 billion, this automatically means the loss was approximately 11 percent of the GDP.”