Thursday, February 28, 2013

Unless we enforce the Michuki Rules, Kenyans will keep dying on the road

I will never stop complaining until the carnage on Kenyan roads stops.

It is unacceptable that we continue to lose lives on roads, not because the loss could not be avoided, but because we refuse to face the consequences of our actions.

The loss of 34 lives in a single road accident on Wednesday night got me mad.

Granted, vehicles are machines and can misbehave on the road.

I do not doubt that. But then they do not drive themselves.

They are driven by men capable of making sober judgment where people’s lives are concerned.

I still hold that most of the road accidents are a result of gross irresponsibility on the part of either the drivers, passengers or, in some cases, pedestrians.

I have six questions in connection with the latest accident.

The first one is: Why didn’t the passengers sound the alarm if the driver was speeding?

Second, why did the passengers themselves accept to board an already loaded bus?

Third, was the speed governor fitted and operational?

Fourth, was the driver sober? And if not, why did the passengers let him drive the bus?

Fifth, were there police checkpoints along the road, and if so, why did they not apprehend the bus crew for overloading (and the passengers for accepting to board a filled up vehicle)?

Six, if the place is a black spot, why were there no speed-reducing road bumps (and if there were, why did the driver overshoot them)?

We must admit that there are consequences to our actions. The other day I complained about police on Thika Superhighway receiving bribes wantonly and allowing overloaded vehicles and unroadworthy vehicles to pass.

Nothing seems to have been done. And the drivers of such vehicles continue their life-threatening mission.

We have two choices here. One: Someone enforces the Michuki Rules to the letter, and become unpopular with the public transport stakeholders — we have seen protests and strikes by matatu and bus crews simply because the police dared to act on them.

Choice two, someone will turn a blind eye to the misdeeds on the road, and the end result will be escalation of road carnage.

Ironically, passengers are the most indisciplined of the lot, contrary to popular belief.

They will board overloaded vehicles, create bus stops where there are none, encourage the drivers to speed, and not care whether the drivers are drunk. It does not pay to keep quiet on a matter this grave.

Crack the whip, someone.

BRIAN KILINDI, Gatundu South

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