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                                                                                              14/8/2016

Reason Why NTSA Crackdown Will Never Succeed.

The ongoing crackdown directed by NTSA is reactionary and diversionary.  National Transport and Safety Authority knee jerk reactions all the time many Kenyans die on the road, fails to address the real fundamental cause of record high road crash fatalities. Only after a multiple fatality crash that the head office is jerked to issue hidebound statements equal to ‘locking the paddock too late when the horse has already bolted.’ The agency has developed a tendency of blaming drivers wholesomely while intentionally sweeping under the carpet government contributory negligence & failure, itself a major factor in worrying trend of road fatalities. The government only sees the speck in motorist’s eye but does not see the log in its own eye.  

Main reasons why the agency’s crackdown efforts are not succeeding:-

Poor Road Design

 It is myopic trying to hoodwink Kenyans that road crashes are caused by driving factor only. The half-truth is, dishonestly misleading.

Open secret is bad roads cause 50% of all crashes. “Does truck drivers get mad only when they get at Salgaa black spot, or other badly designed ‘black spots’ such as crisscross junctions dotting the highways and many road defects?” A kindergarten kid will tell you the colonial old-fashioned two way traffic, where vehicles meet each other is cause of all the deaths not to mention traffic snarl-ups. The killer roads ought to have long been replaced with dual roads. Trunk roads and major highways are begging for delayed upgrade. NTSA statistics do not factor engineering defects that are too steep unmarked bumps, unmarked roads with no sign posts. If the Transport Authority data is factual, where are statistics of crashes caused by potholes which break vehicles and cause head-on collisions? Lack of bus stops make PSVs obstruct roads countrywide. Failure to design pedestrian walkways is the reason the vulnerable road user top fatality and serious injury table. It is not rocket science to recognize that, properly designed roads dividing users can greatly reduce carnage.

Our old design roads are too narrow, dotted with potholes, bushy sides with sharp corners. Vehicles are wrecked by these roads despite vehicle owners paying inflated unaccountable road taxes for maintenance. Kenya Road Board KRB have relegated the role of road building to exploitative cowboy contractors who build road surfaces that cannot withstand one rainy season. Many roads are just un-vehicle worthy.

State Official Graft.

Another major factor that will continue to ensure NTSA road safety efforts fail is rampant office sanctioned corruption.                                                                                                                                                                    It a sad eventuality that NTSA has been accused severally of demanding higher bribes than police in speed trap roadblocks.

Driving Licenses are bought over the counter (BOC). You pay Kshs 1500 to get a genuine license which is delivered by officials’ agents at the comfort of your office desk without requisite tests. Speed governors companies are registered by NTSA to provide tamper proof gadgets yet we see vehicles with valid stickers not only exceeding 80Kph limits but clocking speeds above 100 Kph.  

See no evil tell no evil, overlapping and dangerous stunts are a daily occurrence generally in City roads. Riding in full knowledge of enforcement agents, many Boda boda riders have no COC licenses negating fair crackdown which addresses everything that causes accidents.

Other Dangerous Road Users ignorance

  Most Pedestrians do not have basic knowledge on road safely. Sample this: Basics of crossing a road; Look Right, then left and right again, if the road is clear cross quickly and do not run are known by a mere 10% of pedestrians only. Where to cross, how to walk along the roads and so on. Many do not know that children below 12 years are not supposed to use any road unaccompanied.

There is no policy or enforcement directing, tricycles, tuk tuks, mopeds and invalid carriages are not allowed on any highway.

It is not rocket science to recognize that, properly designed roads dividing users, greatly reduce carnage.

Counterfeit Parts & Spares

Counterfeit substandard spare parts and tyres are dumped in the country. The same fail with calamitous consequences.

Government Agents duplication of roles

The presence of NTSA and Police on roads is not only illegitimate but superfluous. The Law is clear on this. It is the work of police to control traffic flow, ensure road safety, enforce traffic law and attend to accidents. Any other agency as warned by Hon. Maina Kamanda the Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on transport only brings in confusion and usurps the role of police. NTSA should stick to licensing and boardroom policy mandate. The duplicity explains why there is road accident surge since police no longer take responsibility for the confusion.

Motorcycle & Tricycle menace

Indiscipline shockingly is perpetuated by unpredictable boda boda with abandon. Unlike the vigour directed to private cars, matatu and Lorries, this category enjoy shameless impunity, repeated in the eyes of unassuming shadowy NTSA and Police. This double application of enforcement is wrong.  From speeding idiotically inside town crowds, riding on wrong side of the road, not giving way on main roads, overlapping on left side, doing shortcuts on roundabouts, and not wearing safety gear, their ‘essential’  operations are the cause of many avoidable deaths and injuries.

Bus and matatu Body Design

Local vehicle assemblers and body builders contribute immensely to road carnage. Buses and matatu are built on lorry chassis with so high centre of gravity. The seating arrangement is made to carry many passengers at the expense of safety. Stretching mini bus chassis also interferes with front axle wheel base traction grip. Strangely Kenya Bureau of Standards do not have correct standards or are negligent on enforcement. Windows are positioned next to commuters instead of top to prevent direct wind. This is not the case with imported buses which have respectful correct chassis and seating specifications of carrying public passengers.

Driver Error.

Driver error is mostly due to a slipshod driver training, lack of honest enforcement, fatigue, speeding at wrong places and novice drivers who handle heavy commercial vehicles. The worst side is organized cartels who pay upfront protection money to break law. Such drivers break laws in the presence of enforcement officers without fear. Driver attitude caused by the country corrupt nature self-centered nature of I, Me and Myself.

 

Unsatisfactory Speed Traps

Speed traps are set on open roads where accidents rarely happen for purposes other than road safety. Setting limits also where there is bumps such Kinungi and Thika Road is punitive since the illegal bumps slows vehicles anyway.

The crackdown should, therefore, be stopped until the government addresses the irregularity. 

By Peter Murima

Chairman – Motorist Association of Kenya

Our Contacts

Motorists Association of Kenya

P.O BOX 8120-00200

Tel: 0723 779950

Email: info@motoristassociationofkenya.com

Web: www.motoristassociationofkenya.com

 

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