Hardly a day passes without Kenyans being stunned by yet another accident update.
World Health Organization (WHO) statistics indicate that road traffic crashes are a top-five cause of death for Kenyans between the ages of five and seventy and the leading killer of boys aged 15-19.
“As of June 9, 2022, Kenya recorded 1,968 deaths compared to 1,800 lives during a similar period in 2021,” the National Transport and Safety Authority has said.
This number translates to a 9.3 percent increase, replicated under other severe and slight injuries categories.
According to the NTSA, fatalities reported in 2022 included 622 pedestrians, 545 motorcyclists, 322 passengers, and 192 pillion passengers (passengers sitting on the back part of a motorbike’s behind the motorist).
A total of 181 drivers and 29 pedal-cyclists also lost their lives in the six months to June.
On May 25, 2022, the Ministry of Health, the National Transport and Safety Authority, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Bloomberg Philanthropies launched a new national initiative to reduce deaths and serious injuries from road traffic crashes by strengthening laws, policies and actions that are proven to save lives.
Speaking during the initiative’s launch, NTSA board chair Mrs. Agnes Odhiambo said Kenyans should not accept road traffic fatalities as a normal occurrence.
“No deaths on our roads are ever acceptable, and road traffic crashes are a pressing public health issue that we are working hard to resolve urgently,” said Mrs. Odhiambo.
She expressed confidence that the project would significantly increase awareness of the need for motorists and other road users to follow road safety rules and stay alive.
“The work with WHO and partners through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety will be key to supporting our efforts to save lives and push forward progress,” the NTSA board chair said.
On June 9, 2022, National Police Service spokesperson, Bruno Shioso, announced the beginning of a crackdown targetting faulty vehicles and drivers flouting the traffic regulations.
“The National Police Service and the National Transport and Safety Authority have noted an alarming increase in traffic crash incidences on our roads and are concerned.
The two agencies, NPS and NTSA, further regret all the fatalities and injuries due to these unfortunate crashes,” Mr. Shioso said in a statement.
The move comes a few days after an accident between a Nairobi-bound bus and a saloon vehicle that occurred along the Thika-Mwingi Road.
Seven passengers died, with five survivors nursing injuries.
Mr. Shioso added that IG Hillary Mutyambai and the NTSA Director-General had ordered a joint multi-Agency crackdown to nab all non-compliant motor vehicles and motorists flouting the Traffic Act and other laws related to road safety.
“The directive takes immediate effect,” the police officer said.
Mr. Shioso said the recent increase in accident fatalities was worrying, asking stakeholders to join hands and reduce the loss of life on Kenyan roads.
“It is regrettable that most crashes are a result of human-related factors. Motorists and other road users are therefore reminded to remain vigilant, cautious, and responsible whilst in charge of a motor vehicle, or whenever using a public road as pedestrians,” he said.
The police spokesperson urged motorists and road users to exercise caution while using roads to reduce the risk of accidents occurring.
He further asked the non-compliant vehicles to keep off public roads and avoid inconveniencing passengers.
Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety in Kenya has launched its road safety drive. This drive comes as the country finalizes a new National Road Safety Action Plan to slash deaths from road crashes by 50 percent in the next eight years.
Kenya’s government, WHO, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and other partners are meeting to determine how the initiative can best support the New Road Safety Plan and halve accident-related deaths by 2030.
Speaking at the event, WHO Kenya Representative Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo termed the road carnage a crisis.
He added that intensified efforts to secure Kenyan roads were necessary as it was an important matter touching on the lives of all country residents.
“Road crash deaths are a crisis that hides in plain sight. Stepping up action on road safety is vital, as on top of the tragic human toll, road safety touches on all our lives each day, including getting to work and to school. By strengthening laws and practices and bringing partners together, the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative is key to saving lives,” said Dr. Diallo.
Road traffic crashes kill approximately 1.3 million people every year around the globe.
This means more than two people die from road accidents every minute on the planet.
Of these fatalities, more than nine in ten of all deaths occur in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).
Road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 globally.
If nothing is done to address the situation, the WHO has estimated that road accidents will cause another 13 million deaths and 500 million injuries worldwide by 2030.
On her part, Kelly Larson, who leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Initiative for Global Road Safety, reiterated the organization’s commitment to working with the state to reduce road carnage and save lives.
“Bloomberg Philanthropies is proud to partner with the Government of Kenya to strengthen road safety efforts that will save lives.
We are committed to supporting proven road safety interventions that save lives,” said Ms. Larson.
Since 2007, Bloomberg Philanthropies has been supporting the implementation of road safety interventions in 45 cities and provinces, which has saved lives and reduced injuries from road traffic crashes.
The initiative is also actively advocating for stronger national road safety policies in 21 countries and is currently improving vehicle safety standards in four regional markets.
These efforts are estimated to have saved nearly 312,000 lives.