George Kebaso @Morarak
Nairobi leads in road fatalities despite being the smallest of the 47 counties, contributing 20 per cent of all accidents in Kenya, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) said at an international workshop yesterday.
NTSA Safety Strategies and County Coordination deputy director, Duncan Kibogong, a majority of deaths occur among young people aged between 24 and 34 with Nairobi alone recording over 400 deaths annually.
Yesterday’s meeting is the first stakeholder engagement workshop bringing together ordinary citizens, representatives of relevant ministries, policy makers, private sector representatives, road safety advocacy groups, road safety regulations enforcement agencies, national road transport and safety officials, and academicians from the Strathmore and UK-based Southampton universities.
“Pedestrians, motorcycle riders and their pillion passengers are the biggest casualties,” Kibogong said. Pedestrians account for 70 per cent of all road fatalities in the country, he added.
According to the data released on January 8, 2018, 2,919 persons died in road accidents in 2017 compared to 2,965 in 2016. According to the NTSA official, the deaths affect the country economically.
“This leads to the country losing approximately 5 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product which translates into Sh350 billion every year,” he added.
Kibogong dismissed the notion that road infrastructure, engineering and designs cause accidents. Instead he attributed most of the accidents in the country as human-based errors that account for 80 per cent of all the road crashes. Drunk-driving, crossing on areas not designated, hawking on the roadside pavements and aggressive driving are identified as some of the deliberate causes of road carnage.
The workshop at Strathmore Business School (SBS) focused on finding how evidence-based research can help the country achieve 50 per cent reduction in road carnage by the year 2020.
“We are also here to explore priority areas that will generate evidence to support action plan to achieve this target,” Adelaide Lusambili, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Healthcare Management told People Daily.
The forum was part of a multi-country project titled: Sociotechnical Approaches to Road Safety (Stars) targeting Low and Middle Income Countries that have twice as many road traffic fatalities per head of population compared to high-income countries
Among the four participating countries, Kenya is ranked the highest in road fatalities accounting for 29.1 per cent followed by Vietnam at 24.5 per cent, China at 18.8 per cent and Bangladesh recording 13.6 per cent. In contrast, the rate of road accidents in the UK is only 2.9 per cent.