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Monday, December 6, 2021

Govt raises alarm over increased road accidents

By Zawadi Mohamed

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The government has raised an alarm over increasing road accidents in which 710 people died between January and February on this year.

Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna on Tuesday said the government was concerned over increasing road crashes.

Col Oguna noted that this year’s fatalities on the road was much higher than the casualties recorded over the same period last year when 562 people died.

“Comparing the numbers of road accident cases between January and February 2020 and the same period in 2021, there is an increase of 148 cases,” Oguna said.

Road rage, overlapping, reckless driving, dangerous overtaking, drunk driving, drunk walking, drunk riding, failure to use helmets among other issues have been attributed to the increase in crashes.

“These rising cases are ironical since due to the curfew and the movement restrictions, we are experiencing in the country, we expected the numbers to have reduced. If we can fix our behaviour and attitudes, the number of crashes on our roads would significantly come down,” he added.

Among the dead were 230 pedestrians, 197 motorcyclists, 123 passengers, 79 drivers, 58 pillion passengers and 23 pedal cyclists.

The data of crashes in the country show an upward trend in the number of crashes between 2019 and 2021.

The figures indicate the number of fatalities increased by 11 percent between 2019 and 2020 and motorcyclists are the category of road users with the highest number of fatalities.

Motorcycle death as the leading in road crashes were at 1,575 in 2020 (40 percent of total fatalities), followed closely by pedestrians at 1,383 over the same period (35 percent).

Vulnerable road user groups which comprise pedestrians, motorcyclists and their passengers account for 74 percent of fatalities.

Oguna said it was baffling that Africa has the least number of vehicles compared to other continents but the highest number of fatal crashes.

“If we can fix our behaviour and attitudes, the number of crashes on our roads would significantly come down,” he said.

According to Oguna the government has put in place plans to construct road resting stations for drivers to curb the accidents.

The resting points will be constructed along Malaba-Mombasa and Busia-Nairobi highways.

Those targeted are long-distance and heavy commercial drivers who are subjected to fatigue due to a lack of resting points. Fatigue among drivers is a leading cause of accidents.

He further urged road users to exercise patience, courtesy and respect while on the road.

“Passengers must stop cheering a speeding driver because it could cost your life. As citizens, we must work together with the Government by reporting to the police drivers who are breaking highway regulations,” he said.

The ministry also plans to incorporate road safety into the school curriculum to instill responsibility into students.

“Schools already are teaching road safety in their curriculum, whether it is taken seriously or implemented, I doubt it,” Oguna said.

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