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710 people perished in road accidents in just two months, Govt says

There have been more deaths resulting from road accidents in the last two months compared to a similar period last year, the government has revealed.

Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna on Tuesday said the government was concerned over increasing road crashes in which 710 people perished between January and February alone.

This number is higher than the casualties recorded over the same period last year when 562 people died.

“Comparing the numbers of road accident cases between January and February, 2020 and the same period in 2021, there is an increase of 148 cases,” Oguna said.

Road rage, overlapping, reckless driving, dangerous overtaking, drunk driving, drunk walking, drunk riding, failure to use helmets among other issues have been attributed to the increase in crashes.

“These rising cases are ironical since due to the curfew and the movement restrictions, we are experiencing in the country, we expected the numbers to have reduced,” he said.

“If we can fix our behaviour and attitudes, the number of crashes on our roads would significantly come down,” he added.

The deaths on the road come despite travel restrictions as a result of the partial lockdown imposed earlier this year due to Covid-19, ongoing curfew, and more people working from home.

Among the dead were 230 pedestrians, 197 motorcyclists, 123 passengers, 79 drivers, 58 pillion passengers and 23 pedal cyclists.

Oguna added that it is baffling that Africa has the least number of vehicles compared to other continents but record the highest number of fatal crashes.

“If we can fix our behavior and attitudes, the number of crashes on our roads would significantly come down,” he said.

The government said that data of crashes on Kenyan roads are disturbing, as they show an upward trend in the number of crashes between 2019 and 2021.

The figures indicate the number of fatalities increased by 11 percent between 2019 and 2020 and motorcyclists are the category of road users with the highest number of fatalities.

Motorcycle death as the leading in road crashes were at 1,575 in 2020 (40 percent of total fatalities), followed closely by pedestrians at 1,383 over the same period (35 percent).

Vulnerable road user groups which comprise pedestrians, motorcyclists and their passengers account for 74 percent of fatalities.

Col Oguna added that Highway Code breakers must face the law and be made to pay stiffer penalties while at the same time calling out the judiciary for leniency on traffic offenders, terming the penalties as not good enough to curb the carnage.

“Traffic police and the judiciary have been instructed to be more firm, strict and decisive with road safety violations and the Judiciary is urged to be uncompromising with Highway Code breakers by making them face the law and pay stiffer penalties.

“Safety on the roads requires collaboration between the Government and the citizens. Every road user should consider road safety as an individual investment for the greater good of the society as opposed to it being an expectation of the law.”

He further urged road users to be ready to exercise patience, courtesy and respect while on the road and be ready and willing to share the road with other users.

“Passengers must stop cheering a speeding driver because it could cost your life. As citizens, we must work together with the Government by reporting to the police drivers who are breaking highway regulations,” he said.

“The Government will continue to enforce highway regulations for efficient management of traffic on our roads,” he said.

He said the government had undertaken several measures to address road safety concerns, in a bid to reverse the worrying trends.

The measures include road safety mainstreaming in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) which is implemented through the Government Performance Contracting.