NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – Nearly 300 people were killed in separate road accidents during Christmas and New Year festivities even as the 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 across the country as motorists sped off to various destinations to celebrate the just concluded festivities.
They include 248 killed in December and 26 who have lost their lives since January 1.
Many of them, police said, are pedestrians who were knocked down as motorists rushed to various parts of the country.
“We lost 109 pedestrians who were hit as they crossed roads,” Traffic Commandant Aggrey Adoli said.
Others include 68 passengers, 26 drivers, 24 pedal cyclists and 15 motorcyclists who all died in road accidents under different circumstances.
2009 appears to have started on a rather sad note, with a record 26 people killed in separate road accidents since Janaury 1.
More than 300 others we injured, many of them seriously, prompting the Traffic boss to call for a crisis meeting to discuss the matter.
A meeting held at the Traffic headquarters in Ruaraka on Monday resolved to enforce stiffer penalties on motorists found flouting traffic regulations in all parts of the country.
“Lack of adherence to safety regulations is to blame for the mess. So many people have died in the past week alone. It is an issue that must be tackled,” a senior officer who attended the meeting said.
He blamed the high rate of accidents on recklessness, speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol by both private and public service vehicle drivers.
“By all standards, 26 people to die and 300 injured in five days is an issue that worries everybody. There is intense pressure from above to have road accidents in the country minimised,” another officer said without making mention of the higher authorities involved.
Statistics obtained from the Traffic Headquarters on Tuesday place Nairobi ahead of all the provinces, having recorded the highest number of accidents.
It is closely followed by Central and Rift Valley Provinces respectively.
The Nairobi accidents include the killing of some seven people who died on January 1 when a bus they were traveling in from Ogembo in Kisii veered off the road on Waiyaki Way.
Five were killed on the spot while two succumbed to injuries at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
Mr Adoli vowed to sustain road safety campaigns and crackdowns on unroad worthy vehicles to address the menace.
While admitting that motorists were mainly to blame for road carnage, Mr Adoli said passengers were also to blame for failing to cooperate with the police whenever there are traffic crackdowns.
“Some of the passengers themselves are always uncooperative in reporting such speeding cars, which is to blame for the situation,” 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 will also be used in checking on vehicles contravening traffic rules.
Mr Adoli singled out incidents witnessed in December on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway where traffic police officers were almost roughed up by passengers who complained of being inconvenienced by officers who were conducting impromptu checks on unroadworthy Public Service Vehicles (PSV’s).
Head of the Highway Traffic Unit Joseph Sang’ told Capital News nearly 70 percent of PSV’s operating on the Kenyan road had not complied with the law.
“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.
A statement issued from police headquarters recently highlighted the following sections as risky for motorists due to the number of accidents that have occurred in their vicinity.
“Motorists are advised to take extra care whilst driving in these areas,” the statement states.
Eastern Province, the following parts are classified as ‘black spots:
1. Nkubu – Embu road section
2. Konza Junction to Salama road section – Mombasa/Nrb at Chumvi Area
3. Salama – Sultan Hamud road section
4. Emali Simba Market to Kibwezi
5. Mtito to Tsavo River Stretch
6. Nanyuki to Isiolo Junction at Subuiga
7. Machakos – Wamunyu road section at Kithangathini
8. Mlolongo – Small World Club – and junction to Namanga and at Mto Wa Mawe Bridge
1. Kiganjo – Narumoru road
2. Kibirigwi – Sagana road section
3. Limuru – Uplands section
4. Thika Blue Post – Sagana Bridge road Section
5. Kiriaini – Muranga road section
6. Nyeri – Nyahururu road
7. Makongeni (Along Thika – Garissa road)
8. Makutano Embu road
9. Kiambu – Muthaiga road
RIFT VALLEY PROVINCE
1. Kinungi – Naivasha – Gilgil Toll station
2. Gilgil – Mbaruk road section
3. Molo G.S.U Camp – Salgaa
4. Salgaa to A.D.C. Farm section
5. Timboroa – Burnt Forest section
6. Chepsir – Kipkelion junction
7. Kericho – Litein road section
8. Kericho – Kaitui section
9. Endebes Eldoret road section
10. Nanyuki-Isiolo junction
11. Nyeri – Nyahururu Wiyumiririe area
12. Gilgil Nakuru road Kasambara area
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
1. Mbale – Vihiga road section
2. Kakamega Chavakali road section
3. Kakamega – Kisumu – Ilesi Museno
4. Kakamega – Mumias road– Makunga
5. Kakamega – Webuye – Lubao, Kambi Ya Mwanza Ejinya Corner, Malava Forest
6. Bungoma – Eldoret – Chemoi
7. Kitale Webuye – Lugulu Misikhu
1. Awasi Ahero road section
2. Kiboswa Kisumu road section
3. Daraja Mbili – Bondo junction
4. Oyugis – Katitu road section
5. Migori Kakrao road
6. Gucha Bridge
7. Migori Township
8. Ogembo Nyanguso road
9. Kisii Township Main road
10. Mwembe area in Kisii town
11. Kisii Daraja Mbili area
1. Kasarani G.S.U stretch
2. Westlands Museum roundabout
3. Westlands Kabete road
4. Mombasa road between Kencell Headquarters and City Cabanas
5. Jogoo Road near Maziwa bus terminus
6. Waiyaki Way Near Kangemi fly over
NORTH EASTERN PROVINCE
1. Garissa Madogo – Kbc Station
2. Modogashe – Habaswein
3. Ukasi – Bangale
4. Bangale – Hola road junction
5. Buna – Gurar