Senators: Enforce law to curb accidents

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024 05:49 | By
Bomet accident that left 5 dead and 18 injured. PHOTO/Hillary Mutai
Bomet accident that left 5 dead and 18 injured. PHOTO/Hillary Mutai

Senators want the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to change tack and devise new strategies to curb the rising cases of road accidents.

The lawmakers have moved to open inquiry into the causes of accidents that have left hundreds of people, including students, lose their lives in recent months.

The Senate Roads and Transportation Committee, chaired by Kiambu lawmaker Karungo Wa Thang’wa, is deliberating on the matter following petitions by Senators Mohamed Faki (Mombasa) and Veronica Maina (Nominated).

In her petition, Maina wants the Senate Roads and Transportation Committee to probe the causes of the accidents.

In particular, she wants the committee to investigate the death of 11 Kenyatta University Students on March 18.

The students were killed when their bus collided with a truck on Mombasa-Nairobi highway.
Others are the accident that occurred on Kitui-Machakos Road, near Katangi, that claimed the lives of nine people on February 28.

“The committee should investigate the causes of the accidents that took place on Gitugi-Murang’a Road on February 25, 2024, where three pupils from Maadili School in Juja lost their lives,” Maina said.

While canvassing the issue at the main chamber, the senators called on the State agency to come up with better ways to ensure safety is restored on the roads and put an end to road carnage.

Senators Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Dan Maanzo (Makueni) and Faki urged NTSA and the Traffic police to strictly enforce the law if the number of accidents are to reduce.

While contributing to the motion, Maanzo called for scrutiny of police officers manning the roads, adding that corruption on the highways was contributing to the rising cases of accidents.

“We would like also to look at what the police have been doing over the years – the cut-offs which have been made by the insurance companies as to the compensation of victims of such,” he said.

He went on: “There must be a strategy in which we should curb road accidents in the country. Even if the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) comes back, we need a better strategy.”

Cherargei said the State should make sure that the famous ‘Michuki Rules’ are adhered to and are strictly enforced.

“I do not agree when people say an accident occurred because of rains. While the government is doing its best, we ask the Cabinet Secretary for Roads and Transport to stop the public relations exercise,” he said.

New rules

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has announced the return of NTSA officials to the roads.

In addition, new rules on drunk-driving and medical testing of all drivers for license renewal will be introduced.

“You will be seeing a return of the NTSA working with traffic police to enforce traffic safety on our roads as soon as possible,” said Murkomen.

The directive will reverse an order issued by then President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018, which removed NTSA officials from Kenyan roads.

“The era of being reactive to road accidents should come to an end. We want people to move to those sites and ensure they deal with this issue,” Cherargei said.

The committee has also been tasked to recommend long-lasting solutions to road accidents.
The Senators also asked the Ministry to outline mechanisms in place to ensure enforcement of traffic laws, improved road signage, maintenance and reinstatement of public awareness campaigns on road safety.

Murkomen has called for discipline among motorists to avert road carnage, adding that disregard to traffic rules, such as overloading, is the main cause of road accidents.

“We know that boda boda should carry one person and the passenger should put on a helmet. But some people insist on being carried with five other people, sometimes with their entire family members on the same bodo boda. We continue to lose lives because of such,” he said.

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