Road Transport Safety
Transport safety (or lack thereof), especially in the road transport sector has become an issue of great concern to Kenya. The questions we need to ask ourselves as a nation are:
- What actions are we taking to address transport safety problem?
- What results are we getting from these interventions?
- How relevant or effective are these interventions?
My observation is that actions taken to address lack of road transport safety are principally reactive, largely uncoordinated and poorly thought out. For example, every time there is a serious road accident, we hear all sorts of statements to decry the poor safety standards on our roads. The accident may for example be attributed to carelessness on the part of the driver. What we witness thereafter though is that authorities get onto the road and arrest every public service vehicle ostensibly for failure to meet road worthiness standards. I wonder how poor driving standards lead to vehicle unworthiness or vice versa.
I would assume that the best way to correct a faulty situation would be to study the fault and then deliberately design methods that will effectively correct the fault. On road transport accidents, majority correctly believe that most accidents are caused through poor driving, yet we accept the corrective measures taken by the authorities namely; fix the road worthiness of the vehicles and we will have safe roads. Needless to say the problem persists.
Another so called method of curbing road accidents popular in Kenya is to change the law, introducing all sorts of impractical punitive measures. As with the case of the reactive solution to road accidents, the law is hardly well thought out, leading to little or no improvement in the road safety standards. My opinion is that we need to fix our road safety culture. This include training standards and practice and legal enforcement standards. Introduction of legal provisions, consistent with the goal of improving safety on our roads is a must. Before going into the specifics of how to practically achieve the above items it would be nice to get some comments.