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PSV owners seek revised speed limit

NAIROBI, Kenya, August 22 – Matatu operators now want the government to revise Public Service Vehicles speed limit to 100km/hr from the current 80km/hr.

Matatu Owners Association (MOA) Chairman Simon Kimutai told Capital News in an interview that a reasonable speed limit will compel drivers to comply with road safety rules.  He said that 100 kilometres an hour is not too slow and not too fast, but moderate.

“80 km/hr is slow and that is why in a number of cases, passengers complain and we quite agree because when a vehicle is slow, it affects even the mental capacity of the drivers since they may not be alert,” Mr Kimutai said.
This fresh appeal came barely days after Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere complained that drivers were not observing the laws on speed limits.  Mr Mwakwere decried that the speed governors introduced by his predecessor John Michuki had been rendered useless as many had been tampered with.

Speeding and other cases of indiscipline by PSV drivers have been blamed for the upsurge in road accidents. Many have criticised Mr Mwakwere for failing to take charge of the road sector but the Minister has turned the blame on the police and drivers.

On his part Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) Chairman Dickson Mbugua advised the government to conduct a survey on what speed limit would be reasonable.

“They should conduct first a research and get the people to actually say why they do tamper with the speed governors because with the current system, you cover a long distance and you do not reach your destination very easily,” he explained.

“So you realise that when they switch off the governors, they try to compensate for the time they loose while doing 80km/hr and so they do 120 – 140 km/hr.”

Meanwhile, the MWA chairman wants the Traffic Police wing to be transferred from the mainstream police department to the Ministry of Transport. Mr. Mbugua said that this will make Traffic law enforcement more effective.

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 “Enforcement of the traffic laws in this country cannot be effected because over 40 percent of high profile civil servants have invested in the same vehicles,” he stated.

Mr Kimutai added that instant punitive ticketing should be introduced to crack down on errant drivers. He proposes that the ticket be a document that belongs to the Kenya Revenue Authority, so it can be accountable.

 “This would compel motorists to go to court or to pay because there are stipulated fines at the rear. They would be given a ticket for any offence committed and they are tamper proof,” he further stated.

The proposed instant ticketing by-law empowers council inspectors to impose fines on traffic offenders instead of being arraigned before the court. This is among a set of by-laws proposed by City Hall to streamline its operations in the city, a move expected to help reduce the backlog of cases at the traffic court.

The by-law sets the penalty for first offenders at Sh2,000 and Sh3,000 for offences committed subsequently. First offenders also risk being jailed for up to six months while subsequent offenders could languish in jail for as long as nine months.


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