Kinyuru Munuhe @kinyurumunuhe
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has rolled out a special refresher course for long distance drivers of public service vehicles (PSVs).
The course, targeting 11,000 drivers and 54 PSV saccos that operate in the night, will be taught using the new curriculum developed by the authority.
NTSA Deputy Director in charge of Safety Strategies Duncan Kibogong yesterday led a team of stakeholders in launching the revised training curriculum at the Kabete Technical Training Institute in Nairobi.
“We have come up with a standardised curriculum for different classes of automobiles, from motor cycles to plant machines. The training, seeking to reduce road carnage, will be divided into two parts—theory and practical work. Driving schools have been involved in the programme.
Part of the training will include medical assessment of drivers. It will take about three months and drivers will get a certificate of competency after completion of the course.
The new vetting process will also be extended to all PSV operators. It is a joint initiative of NTSA, Interior ministry and the Traffic Department, with drivers required to pay Sh3,000 for the training. Besides Kabete, there are 11 other stations across the country, where training will be conducted simultaneously.
“In Kenya, we have never had a standardised curriculum to ensure drivers are conversant with the traffic regulations. Various driving schools offer different training and we want to make it similar across board in line with international best practices,” said Kibogong. On focus to drivers who operate at night, the NTSA official said 70 to 80 per cent of road accidents occur between 6pm and 6am, mostly associated to human error.
Drivers undertaking the course will be issued with the smart licences, currently being piloted. “These drivers will be the first to get the new smart driving licence when they are rolled out. All drivers wishing to apply for the new licence must first go through the refresher course,” said Kibogong.
The licences, which will be embedded electronic chips containing key details of a driver, will be rolled out in six to 12 months. NTSA director general Francis Meja said the new curriculum aims to empower drivers with knowledge and skills required to develop competence in managing attitude and behaviour change. He said the curriculum is bench-marked against best international driving standards.