, NAIROBI, Kenya, April 23 – Latest statistics by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) indicate that there were more pedestrian fatalities in road accidents in the last three months.
According to the study in which the National Road Safety Trust is also involved, Nairobi accounts for close to 20 percent of all accident fatalities with almost all cases involving pedestrians.
Speaking following the launch of a campaign dubbed ‘Save 1000 Lives’ NTSA Director General Francis Meja attributed the trend to the attitude demonstrated by both motorists and pedestrians who flout traffic laws with impunity.
“The drivers… they have no respect for the pedestrians or the pedestrians themselves have little respect or no respect for motorists and when we arrest them, we charge them for obstructing motorists. Charging them for attempted suicide is not that farfetched if you survive,” he stated.
He indicated that the programme targets boda boda riders to reduce the increasing road carnage.
“At the end of the day, there is no reason why someone will attempt to cut a fig tree once, twice or thrice and when you are being prevented from dying, you are literally advancing how you are going to died very fast. We have seen that on a daily basis, as we attempt to enforce the law, you have to really struggle and literally battle with people not to close the road,” he said.
The Save 1,000 Lives campaign will see the private sector mobilised to create specialised programs to support road safety initiatives.
Statistics indicate that Kenya loses at least 3,000 people annually from road traffic accidents, with nearly half being pedestrians.
Economically, it is estimated that the country loses Sh45billion excluding the actual loss of life as a result of road accidents.
“The major cause of these accidents is speed and inadequate pedestrian facilities. With the support from the private sector, there can be quick results in reversing the trend by providing speed guns, providing safe crossings for pedestrians and continuous pedestrian education such as the case with Safaricom’s Traffic Marshals Programme on Waiyaki Way,” Meja stated.
“This is not an area that can be left to the government alone. We, as the private sector must take a proactive approach towards stopping road carnage and restoring sanity on our roads. We must implement effective preventive strategies towards stopping road traffic deaths and injuries,” said Bob Collymore, Founding Trustee, National Road Safety Trust.
He emphasised the need for a multi-sectoral approach from both the public and private sectors to deal with this menace since they are both affected by road accidents.
“This is not an area that can be left to the government alone. The private sector must take a proactive approach towards stopping road carnage and restoring sanity on our roads. Today I am making an appeal to my fellow leaders of companies to join us in taking a stance against the continued road carnage we have seen on our roads,” he said.
He stated the need to work towards building a sustainable program that can outlive the engagement of any one single corporate and drive change on a national scale.
“We must implement effective preventive strategies towards stopping road traffic deaths and injuries. This will not only improve our economy, it will reduce the annual cost of health burden for employers and Kenyans as a whole,” he said.