Source: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
Written By:VPPS, Posted: Wed, May 11, 2011
Kenya has launched the United Nations Decade for Road Safety with a call to all citizens to play their respective role in curbing road accidents which are blamed for several deaths, injuries and economic loss.
Launching the Decade at the KICC, Nairobi Wednesday, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka announced the government’s support for the transformation of the National Road Safety Council into an autonomous authority to enable it acquire the necessary structures and resources to effectively implement road programs.
The occasion comes in the wake of the UN declaration of 2011-2020 as the decade with the aim of mobilizing world countries to come up with programs aimed at reducing road fatalities.
Worldwide road accidents kill 1.3 million people annually with Kenya losing 3,000 persons, Mr. Musyoka noted. He added that many more are annually injured while various countries lose between 1 and 3 per cent of their GDP to accidents.
“Reducing fatalities and casualties could lower suffering, unlock growth and free resources for more productive use,” Mr. Musyoka noted.
He urged the police to deal firmly with people who break traffic rules, while at the same time campaigns to sensitize Kenyans on the importance of proper road use are intensified.
The Vice President observed that the government is using a lot of resources to improve infrastructure, but warned that the improved road network should improve business rather than turn into death traps for Kenyans.
Mr. Musyoka appealed to Kenyans to uphold the Highway Code, and urged motorists to observe all the safety requirements including the post-crash care for victims and alerting other motorists of danger points such as scenes of crashes and obstructions.
“Motorists must ensure that they carry in their vehicles the triangular hazard signs, first aid kit and fire extinguisher, which are mandatory as per the Traffic Act and Kenya Bureau of Standards Act,” Mr. Musyoka added.
The Vice President also called on the National Road Safety Council to train motorcycle drivers in order to reduce the boda boda accidents which are on the increase.
Minister for Transport Amos Kimunya called on the law enforcement officers to remove all non compliant vehicles on the road to reduce the high statistics of road accidents.
He said Kenya is ranked among the top ten nations in the world with the highest road crash fatalities of which 85% of the accidents were due to human behaviour citing the causes to driving under influence, non compliance with traffic rules and fake driver licenses.
Mr. Kimunya said the country has already developed a 5 year plan of Action that will focus on both the short and long term activities.
He disclosed that his Ministry has initiated the Integrated Data Management System which aims at linking all agencies involved in road safety to improve the policing on the roads which is currently manual.
The Patron, Commission of Global Road Safety, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent said for the Road Safety to succeed it requires political will, sustainable funding and support of private and civil society since it is a collective responsibility which should not be left to the government alone.
He said there was need for countries to recognize Road Safety as a key and important element in development in order to save millions of lives lost in road carnage.
Present at the function included the World Health Organization Representative Dr. Abdoulie, Director General F.I.A David Ward, the Permanent Secretaries Dr. Cyrus Njiru (Transport), Dr. Ludeki Chweya (Home Affairs) and Eng. Michael Kamau (Roads)