Banning night travel by PSVs won’t help, try two-driver rule

Wednesday January 3 2018

Former Transport and Infrastructure Secretary Joseph Kamau issued a raft of new rules and regulations in respect to public service vehicles aimed at curbing road carnage.

The most notable was that every PSV plying long distances have two drivers — to allow each to work for a maximum of eight hours and rest. The ministry had established that nearly all the long-distance PSVs overworked their drivers.

Kamau also banned night travel for all PSVs that did not comply.

The frequency of accidents involving PSVs appears to mean that the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) may not be enforcing the two-driver rule.

It is not enough to attribute the recent mindless road carnage to “human error”.

We have relatively fewer accidents in air transport than on roads. The reason for such a remarkable safety record is a lack of complacency among airlines and regulators.

Banning night travel without brutally enforcing the two-driver rule may not yield much. After all, we have had fatal crashes during daytime! Let the NTSA impose the rule and see road accidents come down dramatically — with or without night travel.



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The fruits of corruption on our roads in December was at least 293 bodies in the mortuary.

In Kenya, money is more important than human life. Fatal road accidents cost of Sh50, the fee paid to a traffic police officer to allow faulty public service vehicles or lorries on the road.

Some Sh30 billion is collected in bribes at roadblocks on our major highways, enough to construct one Thika Superhighway every year.

Nobody at NTSA or the traffic police is willing to take responsibility, leaving accident survivors, who are captives of PSV crews, to narrate horror stories.

The government’s cosmetic knee-jack reaction of banning night travel is very costly as more days are spent on the road, increasing the cost of doing business, while schools and colleges open this week.

Such decrees imply that the Transport Cabinet Secretary is out of touch with reality. The NTSA and the police traffic department, as constituted, should be disbanded.



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Many long distance vehicles are driven by old people and, through experience, I know many drivers over 60 don’t see well at night but they won’t admit it.

Even those who see well concentrate on the headlights beam and any object can cause the driver to lose control.

When you order all buses and matatus to travel during the day, you make the same drivers race against one another and also congest some roads.