The devil lies in behaviour, State says as ‘Usalama barabarani’ campaign launched

Campaign to focus along the Mombasa-Nairobi-Kisumu-Kakamega corridor.

In Summary

• The authority seeks to bring an additional six transport committees to critically look at what ails the transport sector.

• “We intend to increase public sensitization and awareness on road safety and enhance driver training and testing with an aim of reducing the number of black spots,” she said.

Interior CS Fred Matiangi during the flagging off of patrol cars for the Usalama barabarani campaign
Interior CS Fred Matiangi during the flagging off of patrol cars for the Usalama barabarani campaign
Image: MINISTRY

The government has launched a road safety campaign to reduce accidents.

The campaign dubbed ‘Usalama barabarani’ is spearheaded by the National Transport and Safety Authority-NTSA in partnership with the European Union.

NTSA’s Board chairperson Agnes Odhiambo said through the campaign, the authority seeks to bring an additional six transport committees to critically look at what ails the transport sector.

“We intend to increase public sensitization and awareness on road safety and enhance driver training and testing with an aim of reducing the number of black spots,” she said.

Odhiambo said the safety campaign will focus along the Mombasa-Nairobi-Kisumu-Kakamega corridor where a big percentage of the accidents occur.

Earlier on, the authority announced the return of the dreaded alcoblow operations.

This was after a report revealed that 60 people were killed due to drunk driving between October 2 and 4.

The government said it resorted to re-introducing alcoblow tests in major towns in a bid to control road carnage.

In a joint statement, NTSA and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai expressed concern over a spike in accidents, coming soon after President Uhuru Kenyatta relaxed curfew rules to now start at 11pm.

"Reports further indicate that from 2nd to 4th October 2020, a total of 60 persons lost their lives, of which most of the accidents were attributed to drunk driving," the statement said.

Road fatalities between January and September this year stood at 2689, compared to 2,655 during the same period last year, an increase of 1.3 per cent.

At the same time, motorcyclist and pillion passenger deaths increased by 44.94 per cent and 19.44 per cent respectively.

NTSA said as a result, drivers will be monitored to check for speeding, lane discipline, compliance with Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licensing requirements and roadworthiness of vehicles.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i during the safety launch said behaviour and attitude was to blame for the accidents.

“We need to have an honest conversation on real things not those that are politically correct. The challenges on roads are to do with behavior,” he said.

He added, “The devil  is in our conduct and behavior but time is here for us to be honest, build consensus and engage on serious behavioral change campaign because blaming the police is not solving the problem but reformed behavior on how roads are used”.

Matiang'i said someone cannot be driving while drunk and expect not to cause accidents.

The CS said politicians are to blame for the high rate of accidents involving boda bodas.

According to him, every time there has been an initiative aimed at educating the boda boda operators on road safety, politicians have hijacked it and used the boda boda as a recruitment tool while inciting them against the reforms.

“These people are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters and we need them alive. What is the essence of acquiring a boda boda for only one to die,” he posed.

Matiang'i said removal of road blocks had played a key role in monitoring road behavior among drivers.

He said though accidents involving mass transport vehicles had drastically reduced, those involving small scale cars are contrary on a sharp rise.

“The festive season is here and between November and February next year, we are likely going to experience a lot of movement so please I want to urge all of us to join hands and be involved in this campaign,” he said.

He said there has been a delay in revalidating driving schools because interested parties obtained Court orders.

“Kenya is a democratic society so we had to live by that but we are expecting to complete the process by January 1.  This with a combination of Huduma Namba will be a major boost to new standards of service provision,” he said.