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New tough rules for drunk matatu crews

The licences and badges matatu crews found drunk will be cancelled immediately.

National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Director-General Francis Meja said such drivers would have to undergo fresh training and testing before they can be issued with new documents.

Mr Meja said the number of drivers and conductors who work while drunk has been on the rise.

He named 19 drivers whose licences were revoked last month alone and reminded matatu owners that they would be held responsible for hiring rogue drivers.

“They must vet potential employees to ensure that anyone driving their vehicle has the right skills, training and attitude,” he said.

Mr Meja revealed that 13 of the drivers who lost their licences operated in Nairobi, where half of all hit-and-run accidents occur.

He said public transport companies and saccos would now be required to apply for their crews’ badges.

“This is meant to ensure that operators are fully accountable for their vehicles, drivers and conductors.

ROADWORTHY VEHICLES

“An operator has an obligation to ensure only roadworthy vehicles are allowed on the road,” he said.

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai said the revocation of licences for drunk drivers was long overdue.

“These are the people who cause the largest number of accidents on our roads,” Mr Kimutai said.

He said workers in the public transport sector, just like all others, should respect their jobs.

At the same time, the authority warned drivers not to misinterpret a new set of rules released by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on Wednesday.

Director of Road Safety Matthew Munyao said custodial measures remain in place for serious offences like drunk driving.

“Besides, an automatic loss of 14 points on the driving license will apply, resulting in a one-year suspension of the licence,” Mr Munyao said.

Under Dr Mutunga’s directives, traffic offenders would be given notice to attend court instead of being thrown into custody instantly.

This article was written for publication in the Daily Nation