The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has proposed a set of new rules, targeting heavy commercial vehicles, in an effort to curb road accidents.
According to NTSA director general Francis Meja, there is no legal framework to regulate heavy commercial vehicles as is the case with passenger service vehicles (PSV) yet the former accounts for 23% of road accidents in Kenyan roads.
“Heavy commercial vehicles are currently operating without a legal regime unlike passenger service vehicles and private cars. Once the draft rules are gazetted, they will be brought under the law,” Francis Meja said.
Among the proposed rules is the reduction of working hours for drivers, who are often forced to drive for long periods and as a result end of sleeping on the wheel, to a maximum of eight hours or a total of 500 kilometers of driving in a period of 24 hours.
Drivers will also be required to take a minimum rest of one hour, after four hours of driving.
“No carriers shall request, require or allow a driver to drive and no driver shall drive after they has accumulated eight hours or driving in any period of 24 hours or has driven for a total of 500 kilometers in a period of 24 hours whichever is achieved first,” section 11 of the National Transport and Safety Authority (Operation of Commercial Service Vehicles) Regulations 2016 states.
Road safety is a serious issue in Kenya, with approximately 3,000 people dying every year and many more seriously injured as result of road traffic accidents
NTSA also wants heavy commercial vehicles to be fitted with speed governors that conform to the Kenya Standard KS2295 or one approved by the authority.
The new rules will also require owners of such vehicles to pay Sh2, 000 annually for license fees, Sh1, 500 for renewal and Sh1,500 for replacement of a damaged or lost license.