CS Murkomen says efforts are paying off as road fatalities fall

Fewer Kenyans have died in road accidents this year as compared to 2022 statistics from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) indicate.

A closer look at the traffic data as of December 7, 2023, reveals that fatalities have reduced compared to the same time in 2022.

Speaking on Monday, during the launch of the Usalama Barabarani festive season campaign at railways terminus in Nairobi, Transport and Roads Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said that the government had worked tirelessly in the past year to bring down the number of deaths on the roads.

“I’m happy that our hard work and concerted effort have borne results,” he said.

He revealed that between January 1, to December 7, 2023, 3,999 lives were lost as a result of road accidents, down from the 4,352 lives lost during the same period last year. This is a reduction of 8.11%.

“This is no reason to celebrate. Even one life lost is one too many. These are not mere statistics. These are our dear relatives, our friends and fellow citizens. And, all lives are precious. As a Ministry we shall continue working to reduce fatal accidents on our roads drastically,” said Mr Murkomen.

“We are alive to the fact that while there are reduced deaths, there is an increase in the number of those injured.”

According to the latest statistics, there has been a notable reduction of fatalities in all road user groups this year except pedal cyclists when compared to the same period last year.

The increase in the pedal cyclist’s deaths were attributed to speeding vehicles, dangerous cycling, unsafe changing of lanes, distracted riding and lack of non-motorized transport (NMT) facilities.

Other attributes include use of mobile phones by both motorists and cyclists and other forms of distraction, failure to wear reflector jackets and the use of NMT facilities provided for cyclists by other road users.

The CS said that to help bring about sanity on our roads further, the government released Kenya’s Highway Code and Drivers’ handbooks.

“Driving on our roads, I am saddened to note that most of our motorists are either unaware of the risks associated with reckless driving or they are deliberately engaging in poor practices that endanger their own lives or that of other road users,” he said.

He said that a majority of road traffic deaths and injuries are preventable if road users did their part.

He called call upon all Kenyans to take personal responsibility for the choices they make while on the roads.

“Minimise the motivation behind risky road behaviour. People speed because of reasons such as being in a hurry and late, which point to poor journey planning and time management,” he said.

The CS further said that the Highway Code provides rules and guidelines on how to use the road. “All road users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorists – have a right to access the road, but they should always act responsibly so as to ensure the safety for all. Basic guidelines are provided for you on how to drive, reverse, cross the road as a pedestrian, obey traffic lights and so on.”

According to the World Health Organisation, Global Status Report on Road Safety, between 3,000 and 13,000 Kenyans lose their lives in road traffic crashes every year.

The majority of these people are vulnerable road users – pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists. In addition, nearly one-third of deaths are among passengers – many of whom are killed in unsafe forms of public transportation.

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