5 January 2013

Kenya: This Road Carnage Must Be Halted


When President Kibaki signed the Traffic Amendment Bill into law bringing into force rules that were expected to curb road accidents many Kenyans heaved a sigh of relief.

Even though some sections of the society such as the matatu sector protested these laws terming them as draconian, a sizable portion of the population was upbeat that we now had the perfect panacea to road carnage.

But if what has unfolded on our roads in the just ended month of December 2012 and January 2013 is anything to go by, we still have a long way to go before bidding farewell to unnecessary loss of lives on our roads.

In less than one and a half month, more than 50 Kenyans have lost their lives in grisly road accidents.

On January 1, just an hour after Kenyans ushered in the new year, eleven people died at Migai near Salgaa on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway when a truck, a bus and a 14-seater matatu collided. A further 25 people died is separate road accidents in Molo and Meru on January 3.

Statistics show that more than 30,000 lives are cut short on Kenyan roads annually.

Ten times this number get severe injuries and end up hospitalised.

These chilling statistics have earned Kenya the unenviable reputation of being one of the countries with the highest number of fatal road accidents in the world.

What many find strange and infuriating is that the vast majority of these accidents are attributable to avoidable factors such as drunken driving, speeding, unnecessary overtaking, and overloading.

We cannot afford to let this road carnage to continue unabated.

The police should be made to enforce the traffic rules strictly.

Those found driving while drunk should face the full force of the law.

Severe punishment should be meted out on speeding drivers, and those found overloading and unnecessarily overtaking.

Police officers found taking bribes from drivers who flout traffic rules should also be disciplined. It is in strictly enforcing the new traffic rules that our salvation lies.

Quote of the day: "How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these." George Washington Carver (01/05/1864 - 01/05/1903)

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