By Winnie Kabintie
“If you can drive in Nairobi, then you can drive anywhere in the world”, so goes a common saying in Kenya, in reference to the madness that characterizes our roads.
It’s almost business, as usual, to come across vehicles overlapping even in the most unlikely areas, others being driven on the wrong side of the road, absurdly on the highways!! Heavy commercial vehicles parked hazardously on the roadside and in the worst cases stalled right in the middle of the road with no safety triangle around to warn oncoming motorists!
Even with legislation requiring Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) to be fitted with speed governors that limit speed to 80KMPH, you will still come across PSVs overtaking you at super speed and before you can confirm with your speedometer that you are actually driving at 90KMPH, the bus has vanished.
Drunk driving is almost a lifestyle in the country especially over the weekends and even more absurd, is how Kenyans have made a mockery of the government’s efforts to nub drunk drivers and its almost become an achievement in social circles to brag about “dodging” the Alco-blow police after a night out.
Culprits even make use of social media to notify each other of the presence of alco-blow cops on the roads so that they can use alternative routes.
While am cognizant of the fact that some of the deaths are caused by careless driving, pedestrians, who remain the most vulnerable group of road users, are not any better than the rogue drivers on our roads and some have made it a habit to notoriously cross highways at non-designated areas in total disregard of flyovers erected for their own safety and convenience, consequently endangering their lives and those of motorists as well.
There are so many blunders and recklessness on our roads and I believe this is the core of the problem and not unless we start addressing matters road carnage from this oddity, death on our roads will persist by the hour.
STATISTICS ON ROAD CARNAGE KENYA
According to the recent stats by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), a total of 1,192 people have died in road accidents between 1st Jan and May 9 this year, a 13 percent variance compared to the 1,054 deaths recorded within the same period in 2018.
Generally, Kenya loses an average of 3000 lives through road accidents annually, placing it among countries with the highest road carnage globally.
Road Safety Kenya
As a common warning floated around in local driving schools goes; “Always remember that you are the only sober driver on the road”. Perhaps if we all took this caution to heart then we would control the alarming number of death on our roads because while relevant government agencies continue to come up with traffic rules and regulations to curb road accidents, until road users get sane on the roads, until we all take personal responsibility on road safety, these rules will only remain good on paper!
Road accidents in Kenya can be controlled but it has to start right from individual levels.