Nairobi — Inspector General David Kimaiyo has warned police commanders to strictly enforce the Traffic Act following the death of up to 54 people in road carnage in 2013.
In a statement, Kimaiyo said that the enforcement of the law is one of the areas earmarked for action in police reforms and that officers who fail in this duty will be firmly dealt with.
He has ordered traffic law enforcement officers to arrest and prosecute motorists who are caught speeding, overloading, those causing obstruction on the roads as well as excess passengers in vehicles.
"The IG wishes to remind all police officers that failure to enforce traffic law is one of the major areas targeted for reform and that in the New Year, the effectiveness and civility of traffic law enforcement will be taken as major indication on those commanders who wish to embrace police reforms and those who have chosen to remain in the past. Offices should note the country's patience on offices who do not wish to reform is fast running out," he warned in a statement adding that deterrent action will be taken on commanders who ignore this directive.
"The IG has directed that in respect of carrying excess passengers, police officers should not only charge the driver of the motor vehicle but also the passengers because the law also deems them culpable for being carried as excess passengers," a statement from police headquarters said.
Kimaiyo has called for the 'active' support of the public in the enforcement of the law by among other things refusing to be carried in vehicles that flout the law.
"Excess passengers riding in Public Service Vehicles are not insured or otherwise protected under any law in case of any eventuality," he warned adding that The Traffic Amendment Act of 2012 is in full force and will be enforced to the letter.
Kimaiyo's fury comes a day after an accident in Olenguruone in Molo claimed the lives of 20 passengers who were in a matatu that was carrying 30 passengers.
Rift Valley Police boss John M'mbijiwe has vowed to take action against the police officers who let the matatu pass major road blocks before the accident happened.
The Olenguruone incident came in the wake of yet another accident where six people were killed after a 14-seater matatu hit a lorry at Subuiga area along Meru-Nanyuki road.
The matatu was heading to Meru from Nanyuki during the 8pm accident.
On New Year's day, 14 people died in separate accidents with 11 of them perishing at Salgaa on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway when a matatu they were travelling in collided head-on with a bus.
Another three died in separate incidents in Mombasa.
Kenya has one of the worst road safety records in the world, with statistics showing at least 3000 people are killed in road accidents annually.