More than 1,000 motorists are arrested every month in Kenya for flouting speed limits, new data from the transport authority shows.
Speeding is one of the major causes of road accidents.
Between January and October this year, 20,978 motorists were arrested across the country for speeding.
A Nation Newsplex review of statistics from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) shows April had the highest number of arrests at 3,026, followed by March at 2,961. October had the lowest at 1,201.
According to Dr Duncan Kibogong, NTSA safety strategies deputy director, March and April recorded the most arrests for speeding because of the Easter holiday.
Dr Kibogong said drivers losing control of their vehicles and being unable to stop on time are some of the main reasons accidents occur.
“Making roads wider with minimal obstacles allows many motorist to speed, thus endangering themselves and other road users,” he added, giving an example of bypasses in Nairobi that have become black spots.
HIGH COURT RULING
The High Court recently ruled that driving 20kph above the 100kph limit is not illegal.
Justice Ngenye Macharia held that there is no law in Kenya that prescribes either the setting of speed limit road signs or punishment for not observing the set limits.
The judge, ruling in a case where a driver had been arrested for speeding on the Southern Bypass, said a driver could only be charged if he exceeded the 120kph limit.
This ruling could be a blow to NTSA, which seeks to curb speeding in urban areas.
Speed is estimated to cause about half of all road accidents worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
WHO states that the higher the speed of a vehicle, the shorter the time a driver has to stop and avoid a crash.
NTSA Road Safety Acting Director John Muya said the agency has noticed fewer cases of speeding when there are many checks on the roads.
FINES FOR MINOR OFFENCES
The agency in 2016 gazetted fines for minor traffic offences, including speeding, which would see offenders pay instant fines.
However, the rules are yet to be effected after they were challenged in court.
Currently, traffic offenders pay cash bail and get notice to appear in court.
Most offenders do not show up in court and the cash bail is forfeited to the State.
According to police sources, most motorists pay cash bail of between Sh3,000 and Sh10,000, depending on the offence committed.
However, some road experts have raised concern over setting of speed limits, especially on new roads, saying the roads are designed for speed.
NTSA Director-General Francis Meja faulted road engineers for designing roads for motorists while forgetting other road users, saying this has contributed to more pedestrian and motorcyclist deaths.
“There are stretches where there are no crossing for pedestrians and the road has three lanes on either side,” he said.
The authority also said it is concerned about drink-driving.
The data showed that motorists tend to drink-drive during holidays.
Between January and October 2016, 4,912 motorists were arrested for drink-driving, with the highest number of arrests being during Easter at 801 cases.
September and October had a high number of drunken drivers arrested (668 and 624 respectively).