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It is of little comfort that the number of deaths on Kenya’s roads has diminished over the nine months of 2017 compared to last year but the figures are still horrific, as they across most of the African continent.

A report by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) shows that 2,224 people have died on Kenya’s roads since January 1st, 2017, down from 2,376 for the same nine-month period last year, a fall of 152 road-death cases.

Any improvement in these ghastly figures is to be welcomed but that still means some six or seven people have died every day so far this year.

Of the 2,224 deaths, 840 people were pedestrians (38 percent of road deaths) and 544 were passengers in Public Service Vehicles (24 percent), in effect, innocent bystanders.


As the NTSA figures were published a seminar sponsored by the Global Road Safety Partnership was taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. Over two days, experts, government leaders a senior business figures  discussed the issues surrounding traffic fatalities across Africa with the aim of formulating plans to cut road deaths on the continent in half by 2020.

Data presented to the seminar showed that 300,000 people died on Africa’s roads last year, a ratio of 26.6 people per 100,000 head of population. The statistics for Kenya read 29.1 road deaths per 100,000 people in the country. The figures for Europe, by contrast, show 9.3 deaths per 100,000 people.

Africa accounts for some 24 percent of worldwide road deaths and yet contains only five percent of the world’s registered vehicles.

The cause of some many fatal accidents on our roads (and surely calling them ‘accidents’ is a bit of a misnomer) is often given as the poor quality of the roads themselves, many heavily potholed, or in other states of disrepair. There is some truth in this but surely the responsibility lies with the drivers themselves.

So long as Kenyan drivers and particularly those driving PSV’s, continue to drive on to the pavement or side of the roads (and the police let them get away with it), overtake on blind hills and bends, not stop at red lights and generally ignore road signs, this carnage will go on.


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