The fact that road carnage has taken a heavy toll on our citizens is a worrying and saddening trend. Precisely, statistics from National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) show that, every year, more than 3,000 people lose their lives in road crashes that make thousands more either permanently or partially incapacitated.
The recent statistics from the Traffic Police Department indicate that the number of deaths on our roads has increased from 2,560 last year to 3,212.
The report further explicitly indicates that the greatest casualties of road carnage are pedestrians, with 1,111 having been killed on the road this year, compared to 927 at the same time last year. And as motorcycles became a popular mode of transport, deaths emanating from them hardly make scintillating reading: They contraptions killed 891 people.
For the past two years, road crashes in Kenya have killed more people than the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadly, hardly a day passes without innocent Kenyans losing their lives in a road accident. Ironically, road carnage has become a common phenomenon, an unforgiving death-knell.
Understandably, as we approach the festive season, public service vehicle (PSV) drivers are tempted to make a quick buck, hence flouting traffic rules with impunity. Spending, overloading and reckless overtaking, among others, become the norm. Driving under the influence of intoxicants is also cited as a major cause of traffic fatalities. Research shows 70 per cent of road crashes in Kenya are made-made.
The traffic commandant ought to be extra vigilant. Soliciting bribes by police has become the order of the day, hence a major impediment to road safety. It is high time PSV crews and the police gave precedence to human life over dishonest and ill-gotten gains in the form of bribes. Nobody is safe on the road until everyone is.
Mr Muthama is a business and management lecturer at JKUAT, consultant and author. [email protected]