, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 31 – The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has suspended night travel for all long distance public service vehicle’s, following the Sunday morning accident on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway that claimed 36 lives.
The authority said it had noted that most road accidents occur at night, hence the need to restrict traveling for long distance public service vehicles.
“In order to review the current measures in place to improve road safety, the authority in consultation with other relevant government agencies hereby suspends night travel for all long distance public service vehicles from December 31,” an NTSA statement stated, “all travel must be scheduled to take place between 6am and 7pm.”
The directive followed the accident that occurred at Migaa, near the Salgaa black spot where a passenger bus with passengers from Busia collided head-on with a truck on the opposite side.
“The death toll is now 36 after six passengers succumbed to injuries in hospital,” Zero Arome, the Rift Valley Traffic Police chief who had given the toll of 30 said. Among the dead was a three-year-old baby.
11 others remained hospitalised, many with serious injuries.
“I was asleep when the accident occurred and all I heard was a loud bang and screams from all over before I was helped out,” a patient said from his hospital bed.
Most of the survivors were on the back seats.
The accident occurred at Migaa about 10 kilometers from the Salgaa black spot. It occurred at 3 am when most passengers were asleep.
Police said the accident may have occurred due to the bus break failure before it collided head –on with the truck that was headed to Eldoret from Nakuru.
Police say Sunday’s accident is the worst on that killer highway since the beginning of this month, with the death toll now over 100 on that stretch alone.
The East African country is ranked among countries with the worst road safety records globally based on a 2015 World Health Organisation (WHO) report titled the Global Status on Road Safety.
The report shows that Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda with respectively 29.1, 32.9 and 32.1 deaths per 100,000 people, are among the worst 10 performers on road fatalities in the continent. It is among the worst 20 in the world, with Uganda placed better 27.4.
While available statistics show that up to 3000 people die annually from road accidents in Kenya, this year’s toll is likely to be even higher due to the increased number of accidents recorded since June.
WHO differs with the country’s official statistics and instead places the annual death toll at an average of 12,000, with many accidents blamed on faulty vehicles and minimal or total lack of enforcement by authorities coupled with bribery.
The report shows that no African country except South Africa meets any of the UN’s seven main vehicle safety standards.
Police Headquarters is yet to release the final accidents toll for 2017 which is expected at the beginning of the New Year.
By December 15, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) revealed that 150 lives had been lost for the two weeks, a number that has stretched further.
Other notable accidents this year is the one that claimed the life of Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru on the Nyeri-Karatina road on November 6.
In December last year, more than 40 people died when an out of control fuel tanker ploughed into vehicles and then exploded in Naivasha.