Govt to introduce new laws to curb road carnage
03 March 2015, 09:28
Nairobi - The government will introduce new laws in order to curb the upsurge of road traffic fatalities.
Cabinet Secretary in Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Michael Kamau told a media briefing in Nairobi on Monday that between January and February, the country witnessed a total of 466 deaths compared to 447 in 2014.
"This represents a 4.3 percent increase in road fatalities and this is unacceptable particularly due to the fact that a large majority of these fatalities were avoidable," Kamau said during the launch of enhanced enforcement safety teams drawn from the National Transport and Safety Authority and the Traffic Police.
Kamau said the increase is mainly attributable to human error and in particular speeding, dangerous overtaking, drunk-driving and the use of undesignated areas by pedestrians.
The CS said the government takes road safety extremely seriously.
"So the transport ministry is currently in the process of introducing a raft of legal interventions including the finalization of Commercial Service Vehicle regulations and the publication of motorcycle regulations," he said.
Government data indicates that the total road fatalities in the year 2014 stood at 2,907 which translated to a total reduction of 10 percent as compared to the year 2013.
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"This drop was mainly achieved due to the introduction and implementation of various interventions by the government," Kamau said.
The transport ministry also plans to send enforcement teams which will be dispersed throughout the country and shall strictly enforce the existing traffic laws.
He said the teams will mainly focus on enforcing laws that relate to the key factors that have been identified as being responsible for the increase in road fatalities such as over speeding, reckless and dangerous driving, non-use of safety belts.
"In addition, these teams which comprise of motor vehicle inspectors shall identify and impound all un-roadworthy vehicles," he added.
The ministry official said the enforcement teams will also check on the use of fake driving documents by unlicensed drivers.
The CS noted that there has been an upsurge in the use of un- prescribed motor vehicle number plates which is illegal.
"The use of un-prescribed number plates compromises national security since the ownership of such motor vehicles is not in the government's data base and therefore cannot be authenticated," he said.
Kamau also acknowledged the donation of 20 speed guns worth 375, 000 U.S. dollars by World Bank to National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA), saying this will help improve road safety by ensuring motorists stick to stipulated speed limits within respective roads.
He also pointed out that plans are underway to roll out new number plates from June 1 and new driving licenses from July 1 as a measure to improve security.
The donation brings to 40 the total number of speed guns that NTSA has received so far, with the new speed guns set to be distributed to accident-prone areas including Nairobi and Kiambu, about 20 km east of Nairobi.
Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli said the traffic police department has attached 30 officers to the NTSA to help enforce traffic rules.
"Until road safety becomes a culture, we shall not relent in our efforts," Muli said.
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