For decades, road safety has remained a huge challenge in our country, more so during holidays and festive seasons. According to WHO Worldwide, road traffic crashes kill some 1.3 million people every year—more than two every minute—with over nine in 10 of these in low- and middle-income countries, like Kenya.
It is shocking that, globally, road crashes are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29, who are supposed to work and grow the economy. WHO warns that 13 million deaths and 500 million injuries could occur.
Last year, many people were killed in road crashes, mainly due to carelessness and lack of responsibility by road users. All the stakeholders have a responsibility to ensure road safety for all.
A National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) report shows 4,579 road traffic fatalities were recorded last year with tens of thousands more people seriously injured. By May 22 last year, 1,816 more fatalities were recorded—an increase of over nine per cent from 2021.
Follow simple rules
Among the major causes of road crashes is a lack of self-responsibility. I say without any doubt that we, the citizens, have delayed the war against road carnage because we do not follow the simple rules that are meant to guide us on the road. We don’t respect the rule of law, one of the values that will help us to reduce accidents.
If pedestrians and motorists obeyed traffic rules, we would create order and decorum on our roads. We could minimise road crashes by wearing safety belts while travelling and driving to save lives, avoiding overcrowding in public service vehicles, crossing the road with care, avoiding drink-driving and not speeding.
To reduce road carnage, we must embrace integrity as a national value. A recent Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission report flags the Interior Ministry, specifically the police, as a leader in corruption. Kenyans routinely bribe traffic police officers in order to be allowed to bend the rules, which ends up in fatal road crashes.
Mr Obegi is a linguistics, media and communication student at Rongo University. [email protected].