New traffic Bill seeks to reduce speed limit to 30kph near schools

Friday September 23 2016

A police officer controls traffic at Kibarani, Mombasa County, where a bus overturned on September 9, 2016. A new Bill seeks to push for speed limits at roads frequented by children to avoid accidents and deaths. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A police officer controls traffic at Kibarani, Mombasa County, where a bus overturned on September 9, 2016. A new Bill seeks to push for speed limits at roads frequented by children to avoid accidents and deaths. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Lobby groups have proposed changes to make roads safer and prevent deaths of school going children.

If the proposed amendment Bill is passed into law, the speed limit on roads near schools will be reduced to 30 kilometres per hour.

Other areas that the speed limit will be enforced include public playgrounds, places that children reside or have access to, areas used by children to cross to and from school as well as health facilities.

These areas will be marked with the appropriate traffic signs.

Those found exceeding the speed limit will pay a fine of up to Sh25,000.

The changes to the Traffic (amendment) Bill 2014 will also see to it that traffic routes in the vicinity of nursery, primary or secondary schools are designed and equipped with safe features such as wide pavements, footpaths, cycle-tracks, roadside barriers, and pedestrian crossings with appropriate signs and markings.

Other changes to the Bill include the addition of safety equipment such as seat belts and child restraints to school buses in order to reduce the severity of injury in case of an accident.

Also, a maximum number of passengers will be prescribed.

The Association for Safe International Road Travel in conjunction with the Red Cross Society and Kenya Bus called on Parliament to pass the Bill so that the road safety measures are implemented.

This comes following the recent wave of road accidents where several school children from different parts of the country have died while many others have suffered injuries.

“School transport is unregulated and many children are carried in old vehicles without even basic safety features,” said Mr Bright Oywaya, association executive director.

Kenya Bus Services managing director Edwins Mukabanah urged that the safety authority curriculum for school bus drivers be fast tracked.

School bus drivers and their assistants will have specific qualifications.

They ought to have done first aid and have a course on defence driving.

This will ensure fewer accidents are caused due to incompetence.

Once the Bill is passed into law, those found in violation will be liable to pay a fine of not more than Sh50,000 or serve a prison term of up to two months or both.