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October 19, 2018

Boinnet warns traffic cops as NTSA decries body standards non-compliance

The wreckage of a bus that crashed is seen near Fort Ternan along the Londiani-Muhoroni road in Kericho county, Kenya October 10, 2018. /REUTERS
The wreckage of a bus that crashed is seen near Fort Ternan along the Londiani-Muhoroni road in Kericho county, Kenya October 10, 2018. /REUTERS

Police officers who neglected their duty in arresting the bus which killed 56 people on Wednesday will be punished, Inspector General Joseph Boinnet has said. 

He said at a press conference on Thursday that county commanders have the responsibility of enforcing traffic laws in their area of jurisdiction. 

He said the Kericho police boss James Mugera will face disciplinary action if found culpable of failing in his duty over the latest incident. 

"If there was any officer who allowed the bus to proceed on a journey with all those mistakes, they will be punished," he said.

The police chief further said they will work with NTSA to introduce initiatives towards reducing fatalities during the festive season.

Read: Moi Day horror as 56 die in road crash

The IG said every Kenyan should take up the responsibility to take care of themselves on the roads and "not rely on the police every time."

"You don't require a police officer to be standing every time when riding a motorbike and vehicle. Practice greater sense of responsibility as enforcers do their jobs."

He spoke even as NTSA director general Francis Meja revealed that over 100,000 buses on Kenyan roads are yet to comply with the body construction standards.

Meja said the buses constructed before the authority came up with body construction standards. The specifications, referred to as KS372:2014, came into effect in May 22, 2017.

"Before then, there were no bus construction standards. Most of those built after that have complied. There is a 7-year grace period for compliance," he said.

The NTSA boss said the authority is coming up with regulations to ensure all PSV vehicles comply with the set standards.

He said the bus involved in the Fort Ternan crash was not built to the required standards. 

Its roof was completely blown off after the driver lost control leading it to veer off the steep road and roll several times.

 Meja said that in the light of the latest event, NTSA will revisit the timelines with all the stakeholders for appropriate action. 

"I am certain if the bus in the Kericho accident was constructed with those standards, we would have seen less people die," he said.

He said the Western Express bus was licensed to carry 62 passengers but was carrying an excess of nine.

He, however, said they cannot determine whether it was overloaded or not since there were several kids on board.

Meja added that reports that the vehicle was not insured were false, and that its license is expiring on October 19.

"The certificate is with the police," he said adding that 40 per cent of accidents that occur are caused by pedestrians. 

Read: State agencies have failed to implement PSV body standards

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