NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – At least 29 people were killed and 24 others injured on Monday morning after a commuter bus rammed into a truck on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.
The accident occurred shortly after midnight at Kambu market, a few kilometres from Mtito Andei.
According to police, those killed included the bus driver and 25 of his passengers, the truck driver, his loader and a passenger who was in the lorry.
Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said the 24 survivors of the crash were admitted to the Makindu District Hospital.
“It was a very bad accident. 29 people were killed on impact. Those in hospital are in a stable condition,” he said.
Traffic Commandant Aggrey Adoli told Capital News that initial investigations had shown both vehicles were travelling at high speeds at the time of the accident.
“It was a head on collision, we suspect both the vehicles were travelling beyond the speed limit,” Mr Adoli explained.
Nearly 300 people were killed in separate road accidents in the country during the Christmas and New Year festivities even as police intensified crackdowns on vehicles flouting safety regulations.
Latest statistics available at the Traffic Headquarters in Nairobi indicate that 274 people were killed in accidents as people travelled to various destinations to celebrate.
They include 248 killed in December and 26 who have lost their lives since January 1, 2009, official statistics show.
Many of them, police said, were pedestrians who were knocked down by motorists.
“We lost 109 pedestrians who were hit as they crossed roads during that period alone,” Mr Adoli said.
Police blamed the high rate of accidents on recklessness, speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol by both private and public service vehicle drivers.
The Traffic Commandant has vowed to sustain road safety campaigns and crackdowns on unroadworthy vehicles to address the menace.
While admitting that motorists were mainly to blame for road carnage, Mr Adoli said passengers were also at fault for failing to cooperate with the police whenever there are traffic inspections.
“Some of the passengers themselves are always uncooperative in reporting such speeding cars,” he said.
“It is wrong to see people being killed daily because of a problem we can handle.”
The officer said patrols and roadblocks on major highways would also be used to check on vehicles that contravene traffic regulations.
Head of the Highway Traffic Unit Joseph Sang’ told Capital News that nearly 70 percent of Paves operating on Kenyan roads had not fully complied with the laid down laws.
“The matter is that serious and that is why we really need public support. Passengers should stop complaining whenever our officers are conducting crackdowns,” he said.
Mr Sang’ urged road users to strictly adhere to basic traffic regulations and take note of accident black spots which were recently highlighted by the police.
Monday’s accident occurred at a place highlighted as a black spot in a statement released recently from the Police Headquarters.
“Motorists are advised to take extra care whilst driving in these areas,” the statement cautions.
The other black spot areas in the province include:
1. Tsavo – Maungu – Voi road section
2. Wundanyi – Mwatate road section
3. Maungu – Tsavo East Gate road section
4. Maktau – Taveta road section
5. Mazeras Miritini road section
6. Rabai Ribe road section
7. Kaloleni Dzitsoni road section
8. Kilifi – Vipingo road section
9. Kibarani – Changamwe Makande
10. Kwale Matuga Junction road section
11. Tembo Disco Area Along Msa – Malindi road
12. Kengeleni Traffic Lights
13. Buxton Traffic Lights
14. Saba-Saba Lights
15. Kibarani area
16. Sportsman Changamwe area
17. Navy Junction Long Lunga- Lunga/Likoni road
18. Shika – Adabu area
19. Waa secondary school area
20. Gede area along Mombasa-Malindi road