Concern as road crashes claim 2,200 lives in six months

Ms Janet Khaoya Munyasia

Ms Janet Khaoya Munyasia (left), the wife of former Sirisia MP John Munyasia. She was among three people who were killed on July 2, 2022 in a crash involving a matatu and a tractor (right) along the Kitale-Webuye highway.

Photo credit: Courtesy & Gerald Bwisa | Nation Media Group

At least 2,200 lives have been lost through road crashes in the past six months.

Government Spokesperson Colonel (retired) Cyrus Oguna revealed that by June 27, more than 2,200 lives had been lost through road crashes, adding that this was an increase of 10.5 per cent as compared to 2,057 deaths on the same date in 2021.

“Pedestrians continue to be the most vulnerable group of road users, with 816 of them having died as of June 25, 2022. This translates into a 20 per cent increase compared to the 681 who died in the same period last year,” he said.

Mr Oguna was speaking during a safety awareness campaign between his office and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) at Gilgil area along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway over the weekend.

Mr Oguna said a staggering over 85 per cent of the crashes are attributed to human errors including exceeding speed limit, reckless and aggressive driving, bad road attitude (no courtesy), bullying, drunk driving, overlapping and general disobeying of traffic rules.

According to NTSA, 4,497 people perished on the road last year.

Authorities have attributed the deaths to lack of adherence to road safety rules by motorists.

“With over 7,000 people having died since January last year and assuming that each person was directly providing for five family members, it means that about 35,000 people were affected.

“This is, therefore, my appeal to Kenyans to be extra careful while using the roads and also avoid drunk driving,” Col Oguna said.

He said if this trend is not checked, 2022 may set the grim record of having registered the highest number of deaths and injuries in the country.

“The heightened political campaigns where groups hop from one rally to the next within a short period of time have increased travel across the country, thereby exacerbating the number of highway crashes,” he noted, adding that it is unfortunate that most of them are preventable.

Col Oguna also raised concern over the new trend of reckless driving of school buses in estates.

He cautioned school administrators to reign in the drivers who are putting the lives of young pupils and students in danger.

Mr Oguna warned vehicle owners, Sacco or company officials to ensure their vehicles are in good working condition, adding that they are obligated to undertake mandatory motor vehicle inspections in line with NTSA regulations, among other legal requirements.

NTSA estimates that 3,000 Kenyans die from road accidents every year – costing the country anywhere between 3-5 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

Mr Oguna was accompanied by the Rift Valley Traffic Enforcement Officer Dorothy Muleke and NTSA Director-General George Njao.

Ms Muleki urged politicians to  ensure their drivers are not driving while drunk and that their campaign vehicles are not carrying excess passengers.

[email protected]. Additional reporting by Jepkoech Rotich