23 July 2009

Kenya: Enforce Michuki Rules to Curb Road Accidents


Nairobi — A lot of blood is being spilt, and lives lost on our roads. Hundreds of Kenyan families are in anguish due to preventable deaths through road accidents.

This is either a statement of negligence of duty by law enforcers and policy makers -- the police department and Transport ministry -- or recklessness by road users.

The Global Status Report on Road Safety released by the World Health Organisation two months ago revealed that nearly 1.2 million people die, and as many as 50 million are injured on world roads every year.

More than 90 per cent of the deaths occur in middle-income or poor countries such as Kenya.

This is a source of pain for families, who lose members, and victims bearing the costs of disability and related medical expenses.

In Kenya, the accidents are mainly caused by unregulated matatus, with passengers accounting for 38 per cent of the total road deaths.

The accidents are attributable to lack of enforcement of transport laws dubbed the Michuki Rules on speeding, wearing of safety belts and regular inspection of vehicles. We wonder why the current Roads minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere cannot push the enforcement of the much-credited rules with Mr John Michuki's zeal.

As of now, it is as though traffic police wait for an accident to occur, then rush to the roads the following morning to harass motorists over this or that traffic rule, before reverting to their usual slumber.

Knee-jerk reactions will never save lives on the road. Traffic rules need to be enforced in a sustained manner, until they become part of the motorists' psyche.

But while at it, road users must take responsibility for their safety. Drink-driving, reckless "overlapping," speeding and other unbecoming conduct have become a permanent feature on Kenyan roads with devastating consequences.

And travellers should not surrender their lives to transporters: they must ensure drivers operate within the realms of safety and the law.

Copyright © 2009 The Nation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.