NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30 – The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) says the number of road accident fatalities has increased by 3.8 percent this year compared to 2014.
NTSA Director General Francis Meja pointed out that there were 2,434 road fatalities with pedestrians accounting for 43 percent of the total figure.
He indicated that most fatalities were pedestrians hit by private vehicles, attributing this to poor visibility, drink driving and careless passersby.he peak of these fatalities is around 5am in the morning and towards late in the evening. We also want to appeal to pedestrians and this information is very critical that should they be using the road especially when it is dark, it very important for them to wear reflective clothing so that they can easily be picked by the vehicles,” he stated.
He explained that Nairobi recorded the highest number of pedestrian fatalities, making city roads the most dangerous and emphasised the need to sensitise pedestrians on the importance of using footbridges which are usually ignored.
He stated that this accounts for up to 23 percent of all the accidents reported, including those involving drivers and passengers.
“The issue of the 50km/hr rule I know is not very popular but we are not doing it because we want to slow down traffic. It is because we want to save lives. The moment you are in excess of 30 km/hr, if you hit a pedestrian, their chances of survival diminishes. Of course there are issues like drink driving and this is not just with motorists alone. Even with pedestrians themselves. Some of them drink and then stagger from one side of the road to another,” he said.
“Because of the impairment of judgment, they are not able to see the speed of the vehicle and they get hit. Also the use of mobile phones by both the motorists and pedestrians cause accidents on our roads. So these are minor things if we take note of we can reduce the number of road accidents.”
He stated that the authority together with other firms have launched an initiative seeking to reduce pedestrian accidents which include the erection of pedestrian fences and increasing the number of foot bridges on busy roads.
He indicated that as the number of road traffic fatalities soars, NTSA is seeking increased support from the private sector to reduce road carnage in the country.
The call for support for the Save 1,000 Lives campaign that was launched in April this year, comes at a time when road traffic fatalities for the last ten months have gone up by six percent compared to the same period last year.
Meja described it as unfortunate that the gains made last year were beginning to be reversed and this is attributed to a lack of enough resources to implement initiatives aimed at reducing road carnage.
National Road Safety Trust Founding Trustee Bob Collymore called on all private sector actors to support initiatives aimed at reducing road carnage as part of their corporate responsibility.
“Road carnage is a serious tragedy that has adverse effects on an individual’s productivity which many a times trickles down to business performance. We continue to lose young people at their prime and we must put this to a stop,” he said.
The Save 1,000 Lives campaign aims to reduce road accident fatalities by 1,000 over a period of two years by mobilising the private sector to support erection of pedestrian barriers to funnel the pedestrians to designated crossing points, assisted crossing of the road where there are no footbridges by marshals and well-marked pedestrian crossings.