Enforce discipline on the Expressway
The two accidents that have occurred on the Nairobi Expressway in recent weeks raise many questions about driver behavior and safety awareness that need to be addressed urgently.
Authorities need to carry out safety awareness campaigns to educate motorists on how to use the new road and improve safety for other users.
One way to improve safety is to require drivers applying for the cards to use the Expressway to be taken through safety lessons to ensure that they understand the design and safety features.
As it is, many drivers believe that rules do not apply on the Expressway and that they can just drive at high speed from one end to the other. This is what is causing accidents as drivers rush to beat time records that others post on social media. This, in turn, is posing a grave risk to the other users of the Expressway.
As a general rule, it will become mandatory at some point for all drivers to attend refresher courses given that the nature and design of Kenyan roads have been changing. Many drivers are still stuck in the past and need to upgrade their skills and knowledge of evolving road safety measures.
Kenyans should learn from other countries where road crashes are kept at a bare minimum by enforcing driver discipline, speed limits – which are clearly indicated on the Expressway but ignored – and hefty fines for offenders.
But even before we get to that point, there will be need for the company operating the Expressway to carry out a robust education and awareness campaign so that road users understand how they are expected to behave on the Expressway. That way, they will make it safer not only for themselves but for other users as well.
The media can become a key partner in such a campaign because it has a wide reach and is trusted by Kenyans, making it a good starting point.
The ultimate aim should be to get to a point where there are no accidents at all on the Expressway at best, and at worst, to reduce the severity of crashes. The scenes witnessed in the two cases are disheartening and all steps should be taken to ensure that they do not recur.
The Expressway is meant to make transport faster, more convenient and more enjoyable. Careless drivers should not be allowed to turn it into a death trap.