Sunday, December 29, 2013

Take road safety drive well beyond New year

PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT Members of the public at the accident scene where a bus and a truck collided at Mariakani in Kilifi County on December 14, 2013.

PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT Members of the public at the accident scene where a bus and a truck collided at Mariakani in Kilifi County on December 14, 2013.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By EDITORIAL
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It could still be too early to tell whether the tough rules introduced ahead of the Christmas festivities have contributed to a reduction in road carnage, but the momentum must not be lost to ensure that next year, the rules remain in place and become the standard rather than the exception.

Although public transport companies are feeling the pinch now that they cannot run their buses at night, they should take this opportunity, not so much to lament about the lost business, but to find ways in which they can motivate their drivers to become models of change if the toll from road crashes is to be reduced.

Every year, players in and out of the public transport sector target to reduce the number of deaths to below 3,000 but this has proved elusive.

Already, it is well beyond 3,100 with two days before the year ends.

Considering the high number of people who will be travelling between now and next week, the risk of losing lives and limbs in crashes is increased significantly.

It is the duty of the transport firm owners and managers to ensure they do not contribute to raising the already high death toll.

Similarly, the police and the public have a role to play by being vigilant now and after the festivities to save lives.

The festive period is meant to bring cheer to all but reports of deaths on the road cast a pall on the celebrations.

The saddest thing is that children are often left without bread-winners when their parents die in crashes.

And as invariably happens, the vast majority of those who perish are relatively young people with the energy, skill and expertise to make a significant contribution to the economy.

Although focus on safety has largely targeted public transport operators, it is encouraging to note that the police are now turning their attention to private motorists. This means that the authorities are adopting a holistic approach to the problem.

But the campaign must be seen to be fair to all and must not be turned into an opportunity for rent-seeking.

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