NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – Matatu Owners Association chairman (MOA) Simon Kimutai has emphasised the need for all motorists to undergo medical check-ups on a regular basis to ensure they are fit to drive.
Speaking during the launch of a Sh5 million Public Service Vehicles (PSV) wellness campaign, Kimutai said many accidents are as a result of human error most of which is health related.
He pointed out that drivers should check their eye sight, insulin levels and metabolic rate to ensure that they are in good physical condition when driving.
“Road accidents are about mistakes made by individuals and 80 percent can be avoided and we are saying that it is our concern as the private sector to make sure that we also play a part in ensuring that those who are using the services are safe,” he said. “So we have provided tests for blood sugar, blood pressure, eye sight and also for the Body Mass Index (BMI).”
He further called on motorists to always observe traffic regulations as this will reduce the probability of accidents occurring.
“We know that there has been lots of concern about road accidents. We would want to tell those who are behind the wheels that you are driving a machine that can kill you and can kill others or even maim them,” he said.
“If today those who are driving decided that they are going to drive carefully, there will be fewer accidents on our roads,” he added.
He urged drivers to always be conscious that they are not the only ones on the road.
“It is important for drivers to understand that there are people who are using the same road and even them, they should be able to stick to the law by driving at the prescribed speed limit,” he said.
The wellness campaign that is meant to run for a month is aimed at sensitizing PSV owners and operators on the role maintaining good health plays in safe driving and in curbing road carnage.
An estimated 3,000 PSV operators from Nairobi, Thika, Machakos, Nakuru and Eldoret are expected to benefit from the campaign which is slated to take place between June 10 and July 10 this year.
During the campaign, matatu drivers, touts, boda boda riders, taxi drivers and other PSV operators will be tested for diabetes, blood pressure and undergo eye check-ups.
The campaign has been sponsored by General Motors East Africa Limited, Safaricom Limited, Coca-Cola and Direct Line Assurance.
The Aga Khan Hospital is providing medical personnel and test kits for the entire exercise.
According to the WHO, human error accounts for 90 percent of all road accidents in world.
One of the contributing factors of such errors is poor state of health of the driver; in most cases poor eyesight, fatigue and intoxication which lead to poor judgment and eventually road accidents.
However, there are no documented studies on the number of road traffic accidents caused by poor health; such cases are usually concealed behind human error.