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Pedestrians still lead in fatal road crashes

Tuesday May 7 2019

The scene of the crash involving a lorry, boda

The scene of the crash involving a lorry, boda boda and tuk-tuk at Mamboleo Junction on the Kisumu-Kakamega Road on March 15, 2019. PHOTO | VICTOR OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ANITA CHEPKOECH
By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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BRIAN OKINDA
By BRIAN OKINDA
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Pedestrians are the highest contributors to road accidents in the country. They also lead on the list of fatalities, a report by the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) shows.

The Road Safety Status also indicates that the highest number of road crash fatalities occur at night, with many incidents reported in the evening around 6pm and peaking at 8pm.

HUMAN ERROR

These fatalities are most likely to happen on Sundays, with 63 cases recorded as of April 2019. Monday (53), Friday (45) and Saturday (40) also have significant numbers of cases recorded.

A survey of the leading contributors to road fatalities showed that as of April 2019, 428 pedestrians had died compared with 381 in the same period in 2018.

And 117 drivers, 233 passengers, 323 motorcyclists and 24 pedal cyclists died in the same period compared with 101, 201, 296 and 20 respectively in 2018.

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This brings the total number of fatalities in the period to 1125, 12.6 percent higher than the 999 figure recorded for the same period last year.

In 2018, 3,153 people died in road crashes, 144 more than the 2017 figure of 2,919. Out of the 2018 figure, 1,204 were pedestrians, 836 motorcyclists, 746 passengers, 305 drivers and 62 pedal cyclists.

The leading cause of road crashes in Kenya is human error at 99.1 per cent.

Mechanical causes contribute only 0.9 percent while there is yet to be an environmental cause registered.

As of April 2019, there were 120 crashes whose causes could not be determined, 63 due to loss of control, 27 by failing to keep to the near side, and 18 by overtaking incorrectly.

The number of those seriously injured in road accidents has also been on the rise, with 2018’s figures standing at 4,672, up from 3,943 in 2017.

IMPEDIMENT

Despite the series of ongoing road safety campaigns, the number of casualties from road accidents is still rising, as the survey shows.

NTSA Director-General Francis Meja said the worrying trend is dragging down the country’s economy.

He noted that though road carnage is a global problem, it is more prevalent in developing countries.

“This is a challenge that we must now confront as it is evidently a big impediment to our sustainable development goals. These accidents cost our country 5 percent of Gross Domestic product (GDP),” said Mr Meja during the launch of a six-day drive to promote road safety, called the United Nations Global Safety Week.

This is a worldwide event coordinated by the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration and supported by regional UN commissions and agencies.

Noting that Kenyans have the wrong attitude towards road safety laws, which he said is why efforts to curb road carnage are not yielding much, the NTSA boss said the agency is working with the Ministry of Interior, passenger service vehicle owners and operators, commercial vehicles and the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Centre (KNBTC), among others, in the drive.

“Motorists are always in a rush. We ignore simple procedures like wearing seat belts and not overtaking on a continuous yellow line. How many people do we have to lose to say enough is enough?” he asked.

TRAFFIC RULES

He said the event is pushing for zero fatalities on roads.

Police Inspector-General Hillary Mutyambai, in a speech read on his behalf, said police will tighten the noose on motorists disregarding traffic laws, noting that the National Police Service is streamlining regional traffic management into one command.

KNBTC Chief Executive Officer Josephine Githaiga said the drive will also involve blood donation to help victims of road carnage and save lives.

“Many die from injuries due to loss of blood. We want to support these victims and save their lives,” said Dr Githaiga, indicating that they want to collect 2,500 units of blood in the next six days.

“Let’s have the culture of donating blood. Every person who goes into a surgical unit needs at least two units of blood and for accident victims at least three,” she said.

As of April, 2019, Nairobi County had the most road carnage fatalities at 46. Elgeyo-Marakwet, Marsabit, Meru, Siaya and West Pokot had the least at two each.

Kiambu County had the second highest number of deaths, followed by Nakuru, Machakos, Embu, Murang’a and Kirinyaga in that order. Baringo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Nyandarua, Nyeri and Taita-Taveta all had 12 cases each.