Over 3,000 Kenyans die every year from avoidable road crashes, statistics from traffic department in the country has revealed.
Eighty six percent of the likeliest causes of these crashes are controllable human errors such as dangerous overtaking, overlapping, un-roadworthiness of vehicles, over speeding and road animosity.
Sad enough, according to Mary Wangui Omari, a commissioner of police who also heads traffic operations in the country, most of the Kenyans who die from road accidents are in their productive ages.
Omari who decried that most road fatalities are youth between the ages of twenty to forty revealed that the government spends at least Sh 300 billion annually on traffic matters.
She singled out purchase of materials used in hospitals by accident victims, purchase of CCTV cameras on Kenyan roads and facilitation of traffic enforcement officers.
The police boss said there is a ten percent increase in road accidents revealing that 2,583 have died in year 2018 as compared to 2,222 road-related deaths experienced in year 2017 at a time like now.
Among those who have died this year, 930 of them are pedestrians who were knocked as they crossed the road, mostly busy highways.
Speaking during a Thika transport stakeholder’s road safety sensitization forum, Omari beseeched motorists to consider crossing roads using footbridges which the government has spent billions to erect.
“We will continue with sensitization forums because on road safety, education is very important in patching-up change of behavior,” she said.
She cautioned motorists against abetting issuance of bribes saying that corruption being a two-edged arrow, the law will punish both the recipient and the giver.
Thika traffic commandant Elenah Wamuyu rooted for collective responsibility to restore soberness on the road saying that every Kenyan had a role to play.
She told matatu owners to desist from employing incredible drivers cautioning that every driver must possess the requisite documents after a thorough training.
“We will not tolerate bribery in our department. Comply with traffic rules and that way, you will keep traffic police off from receiving bribes. Remember you are in business and no one should infringe on your business demanding undeserved money,” she added.
The forum which brought together over 500 representatives from different transport sectors was also attended by Thika Ocpd Paul Kiriki, Mount Kenya Matatu Owners chairman Rufus Kariuki, Thika district business association chairman Alfred Wanyoike among others.
Meanwhile, 2TS Matatu Sacco drivers engaged Thika police in running battles as they protested increased demand for bribes.
The angry drivers who paralyzed transport activities leaving commuters in disarray were also pushing for hike of fares saying that the money they give to police every day added to high cost of fuel have rendered them poorer.
Fumed by slackness of their managers to address their issues, the irked drivers started pelting stones to motorists forcing police to disperse them using teargas canisters.
“How do you expect us to survive? You said we reduce fares; we adhere to all traffic rules including desisting from overloading. The money we give to police everyday added to skyrocketed cost of fuel has reduced matatu business to nothing. We resist,” shouted an operator during the scuffle.
Thika police bosses who addressed them promised to look into their issues warning them against any form of lawlessness.