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Lives lost as NTSA road safety rules ignored

George Kebaso @Morarak

Barely 12 hours after the Traffic Department warned of a sharp rise in road fatalities, at least 50 lives were lost yesterday morning in an accident at Fort Ternan in Kericho county.

The driver of the bus travelling from Nairobi to Western Kenya lost control of the vehicle rolling several times.

The horrific crash continues to raise questions  over a number of road safety policies spelt out by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), which are yet to be enforced.

In 2014, the safety agency proposed a raft of measures which stated that drivers should not be on the road for more than eight hours and early this year, it called on the adoption of body construction standards — KS 372  — for PSVs that were gazzetted in 2014 by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) after the Ntulele Bus accident that claimed 41 lives.

These, however, have not been implemented as PSV operators continue to do business as usual. NTSA wanted the standards to be adopted in 2017 but later extended the period to get the new body construction standards to May 2023.

Data from the Traffic Department shows that in the last 10 months, at least 2,345 people have died in road accidents in the country, an 8 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

Yesterday, it emerged that the driver of the ill-fated bus was over 65 years, breaching the 2014 NTSA requirement that states that drivers should not be more than 55 years.

Further, NTSA revealed that the bus operated by Western Express Sacco had no license to operate at night, but sources from Machakos Bus Station in Nairobi intimated that Home Boyz bus plies Nairobi-Western Kenya route at night.

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