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July 16, 2018

Traffic department alarmed after reports show 400 pupils die every year

A school bus that killed 12 people during an accident at Nyambunde on the Itumbe-Nyamache road in Kisii county. /FILE
A school bus that killed 12 people during an accident at Nyambunde on the Itumbe-Nyamache road in Kisii county. /FILE

Close to 400 pupils die annually as a result of road accidents in the country, a report from the traffic department shows.

Bright Oywaya, the executive director of the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), said that the majority of these accidents occur in urban areas.

"This means that 2,000 children have died in the last five years. The report also shows that 70 per cent of children walk to school," she said.

"We cannot afford to continue loosing a child on the road everyday," Oywaya said during the launch of the Action 2020 campaign.

The campaign is aimed at coming up with safe routes for school children, and is in line with Standard Development Goals which wants road carnage reduced by 50 per cent.

Read: NTSA warns public against travelling in hired institution buses

Laisamis MP Joseph Lekuton has tabled amendments to the traffic amendment bill in Parliament with the aim of addressing road safety for children.

The Bill will require school buses to conform to safety standards and it will lower the speed limit near schools to 30kph.

"This is not a figure that has just been pulled out of thin air. The existing 50kph is not protecting children. The difference between 30kph and 50kph will be counted in the lives of our children," Oywaya said.

"Studies have shown that if a person is hit by someone who was driving at a speed of 30kph he/she has a 95 per cent chance of survival. If the speed is up to 50kph, the survival rate reduces to 45 per cent. If the speed is more than 60kph survival rates drop to 10 per cent," he added.

The bill also recommends that all school buses be painted yellow with only the name of the school appearing in bold letters.

Any driver who flouts the speed limits risks being fined Sh25,000.

Kenya Bus managing director Edward Mukabane asked the National Transport and Safety Authority to fast track development of a training curriculum for drivers.

Read: Three students killed in Kisii accident while celebrating new bus

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