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How over 200 matatu drivers failed NTSA refresher test

More than 250 matatu drivers in the country have failed the ongoing mandatory tests for public service vehicle drivers seeking to renew their licences, NTSA has revealed.

According to the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), only 54 drivers out of 302 passed the refresher test between June 9 and Friday last week.

The drivers were tested for written and applied theory tests being conducted at the authority’s vehicle inspection centre along Likoni Road in Nairobi.

Also read: Matatus on the spot for traffic snarl ups in Nairobi

NTSA Deputy Director and Head of Safety Compliance, Driver Training and Testing Wilson Tuigong said that they mainly attribute to the prolonged lack of a uniform driving curriculum across the country and the previously easily accessible licences, which created room for unqualified drivers to acquire them.

“In 2018, we came up with rules and a curriculum that would standardise driver training, but it was then rejected by Parliament. We started the process again in 2019 and on March 10, 2020, the rules were gazetted,” he added.

He added that the changes also resulted in the change of driving test examiners from members of the National Police to NTSA officers.

Tuigong revealed that some of those who failed could not identify road signs on diagrams pinned to the test rooms’ walls, while others could not explain how to follow the rules of a model town board, which is part of the basic driving training.

“We use the UN traffic signs, which have not changed since 1966, but people still cannot identify some of them,” he said.

Also read: Dying declaration of bodaboda rider hit by matatu on Waiyaki Way

The retests are ongoing for commercial and PSV drivers. They are a prerequisite for the renewal of licences for classes B3, D1, D3, C, C1, CE, and CD, which include buses, 14-seater matatus, school buses and taxis.

The re-testing began on June 9 following a directive by Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen.

In April, Murkomen ordered all PSV drivers to undergo a mandatory test from June.

He said the new test would be undertaken on any PSV driver upon the expiry of their license.

Murkomen said that drivers would equally be subjected to a mandatory medical fitness test by a qualified medical practitioner before renewing their driving licenses.

“From 1st June 2023, all PSV drivers and commercial vehicle drivers, upon expiry of their licenses, will be subjected to a mandatory driver retest before renewal of the driving licenses,” he said.

“My Ministry is working collaboratively with other Government agencies and stakeholders in the transport sector to put in place stringent measures that enhance road safety and save lives.”

These measures come following rising cases of road accidents in the country, with school-going children accounting for part of the fatalities recorded.

Also read: Super Metro matatu drivers warned against playing loud music