For the past two years, fatalities on Kenyan roads have steadily been rising despite several measures that have been put in place to curb the menace. According to government statistics Kenya recorded an increase of over 400 deaths from road accidents in 2020 as compared to 2019. As per December last year (2020) 3975 lives were claimed on the road, up from 3,586 at the same time in 2019. This year between January and February already 710 souls have been lost on roads, within the same period last year 562 souls had been lost.
“By projection therefore will be able to surplus 4000 if it goes on like this. These are not just figures, they are human lives that have been lost. Lives that could have been prevented, crashes that could have been avoided if only somebody was patient for about two seconds,” said the government spokesperson retired colonel Cyrus Oguna during his weekly media briefing.
Since the covid-19 pandemic struck the country in March 2020, a lot of road activities at night were reduced due to the ongoing curfew directive, a situation that many thought would reduce road accidents. According to Col. Oguna, many of these accidents are a result of ignorance and disobedience among road users. Oguna cited cases of public service motorists insulting other road users including traffic police officers and others disobeying traffic lights, saying many drivers not only public service drivers are egocentric.
Accordingly, the government has vowed to take stern action against individuals violating traffic rules, including imposing instant penalties at the site of the incident. The spokesperson says the ignorance attitude and disobedience due to prolonged court hearings and judgments of cases involving road carnage.
“Judiciary must be able to up their game. people should be very afraid of being taken to the corridors of law, and therefore we are calling on the judiciary to begin to understand the requirements of this society. There is no justification for why a case should stay before the judiciary for ten years,” added col. Oguna.
To prevent the increasing number of accidents, the government is now set to construct resting points along long-distance routes where drivers will be expected to stop for a few minutes before embarking on their journey. Among the targets is the Kampala – Mombasa route. The government is also aiming at constructing more safer highways, especially raised roads that will maintain a vehicle’s balance in case it gets off the course.
In 2019, 1390 pedestrians, 345 drivers, 704 passengers, 1073 motorcyclists, and 74 pedal-cyclists lost their lives from road accidents.