Murkomen: Road accidents have killed more people in 2022 than Covid-19 in three years
Road accidents have killed more people in Kenya this year than Covid-19 infections did in almost three years, Transport and Roads Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has revealed.
According to Murkomen, 4,449 people lost their lives in the last year, a three per cent increase from 2021 when there were 4,271 cases.
“This is really very painful to read to see how we are losing people; in one year, we have lost the number of people more than the one’s we lost in the entire period of Covid-19 through accidents and this is very painful,” Murkomen said.
The CS was speaking during the launch of the 2022 December Festivity Enforcement Initiative at Harambee House regarding the rise in fatalities, which he blamed on the negligence of other road users.
He said a high number of road accidents are a result of avoidable human factors, including driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, dangerous overtaking, fatigue and ignoring traffic lights and signs among others.
“From the analysis of past reports, a high number of road carnage results from avoidable human factors including driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, dangerous overtaking, fatigue, and ignoring traffic lights and signs among others,” Murkomen said.
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There were 403 driver fatalities overall, 1,190 motorcycle riders lost their lives, 1,595 pedestrians also died on the road, while 1,204 passengers perished.
Murkomen said the government has launched the 2022 December Festivity Enforcement Initiative with cognisance that a high number of road crashes occur at night due to poor visibility.
He urged motorists, especially those driving heavy commercial vehicles and public service vehicles operating at night, to implement measures that will enhance visibility. This includes proper positioning of signage like triangles, chevrons and retro-reflective.
Motor vehicle owners, he added, must move with speed to remove stalled vehicles within one hour of an incident and ensure proper signs are placed at safe distances on the road to warn approaching motorists.
He directed road and safety agencies to enforce road safety measures such as erecting proper signage, surveillance and launching awareness campaigns to promote behaviour change among road users.
“I have instructed Kenya National Highways Authority, (Kenha), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra) to heighten surveillance on our roads and ensure all stalled vehicles are towed within one hour to enable smooth flow of traffic,” Murkomen said.
“I have also directed NTSA to intensify the Usalama Barabarani programme and awareness campaigns to effect positive behaviour change among road users. The Authority is already engaging PSV Saccos on the well-being of drivers and ensuring they are sensitised on their role in preventing road carnage,” the CS said.
The CS also urged the public to be vigilant in reporting reckless drivers and urged motorists to take personal responsibility by obeying the law and following road safety precautions.
“Private motor vehicle owners, heavy commercial vehicle owners and PSV Saccos should ensure drivers are well rested and vehicles well serviced before taking to the roads,” he said.
At the same time, Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki said the high number of road accidents also point to human error, merry-making and other indulgences, typical of the festive season, as major contributors to this notable spike.
He directed the police to crackdown on traffic offenders without exception.
“We expect 100 per cent compliance with the relevant traffic requirements by motorists and other road users. These rules must be observed in their entirety by all,” Prof Kindiki said.