OWNERS of long distance public service vehicles have been instructed to employ two drivers for each vehicle.
Interior Coordination Cabinet Secretary Joseph Lenku said the drivers can work in shifts and avoid accidents that result from fatigue and lack of sleep.
Speaking during an AGM of the Matatu Owners Association Lenku said it's unacceptable that more than 3,000 Kenyans have died on the roads this year.
"The government is concerned with the high number of Kenyans dying on roads," Lenku said.
Most long distance bus company employ one driver per bus who often drive for more than 1,000 kiloemetres. More than 1,000 matatu owners from the 47 counties attended the meeting at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi. Last month, 41 people died in Ntulele area of Narok County after a bus they were travelling in was involved in an accident.
In July, nine students and four teachers of Rioma Secondary School in Kisii died in another horror road accident. Transport CS John Kamau said the vehicle owners have to comply with the directive or take their vehicles off roads. "The matatu industry is associated with all manner of bad things and if you are in it, you must comply with law," he said.
He said the State will only deal with saccos and big companies in an effort to ensure that the sector is streamlined. "Saccos which are operating like cartels will be locked out in the new regulations that will be announced to you on October 2," Kamau said. He said all matatu owners have been invited to attend a meeting in which the regulations will be announced to them to make the sub sector safer.
Kamau said the regulations are not meant to kill the industry but to grow it as well as making it safer. Kamau said they had agreed with police to be tolerant in some issues on the cars but be strict on violations of speed limits of 80 tyres, safety belts. He said the use of alcohol blow is to be enhanced to get drunk drivers off the roads.
The CS said President Uhuru had instructed them to ensure that road transport is made safer.
"What is in progress is to make the industry safer by creating growth and something to be proud of in the near future," Kamau said.
Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said he had instructed regional police bosses to give out their mobile numbers to matatu managers so that rogue police officers can be reported and dealt with.
"Officers who have been taking bribes and not enforcing road regulations are on the spot. They will be dealt with firmly very soon," he said.
Kimaiyo said Kenyans should resist bribing traffic police officers if they know that their cars are in perfect condition.