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Outrage over increased deaths caused by road accidents

By Antynet Ford

At least 30 people have been killed and over a hundred others injured in road accidents in the last 3 days.

Two of the accidents -in Maungu Taita Taveta and another in Migori – both claimed a total of 23 lives.

Preliminary investigations point to driver fault in the Taita Taveta accident that claimed the lives of 11 Kenyatta University students.

Eight critically injured students from Monday’s road accident that claimed the lives of 11 Kenyatta University students in Maungu on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway were on Tuesday airlifted to Nairobi for further medical attention.

The bus was carrying 54 students on an academic trip to Malindi.

One of the survivors, Felix Onyango, said the driver of the university bus was overtaking a fleet of vehicles when the accident occurred at about 7 pm on Monday.

He said the bus tried to return to its lane, but an oncoming truck hit it from the side.

“We did not have any mechanical problems before the incident.”

Still, on Monday, five people were killed in a road accident along Olonguruone-Silibwet Road in Bomet.

According to the police, the matatu driver heading towards Bomet veered off his correct lane before ramming into the tractor.

Yesterday 12 people were killed in an accident that took place at Kuja Bridge along Migori-Rongo Highway where 12 others were killed.

Police added a total of three passengers were injured and that the Matatu was headed for Kisumu

Over the weekend, a teacher and a student of Kapsabet High School lost their lives after one of the buses was involved in an accident during a trip.

Data from the National Transport and Safety Authority NTSA) show that between January 1 to February 11, 2024, there was an increase in the fatalities caused by accidents compared to deaths recorded during the same period in 2023 which stood at 537.

The statistics indicate that Pedestrians lead in fatalities with 216, compared with 163 recorded last year.

Following closely are passengers who recorded 109 deaths which is 11 more compared to the 98 recorded in 2023.

The increased accidents this year robbed the country of World Marathon record holder kelvin Kiptum who died together with his coach.

Kiptum and his Rwandese coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a tragic road accident in the Kaptagat area along the Elgeyo Marakwet-Ravine road.

Investigations by People Daily indicate that Saturdays are the most dangerous days of the week to travel in Kenya.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has raised concerns over the increase in road fatalities in the country.

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Speaking in Kisumu yesterday, Kindiki noted that deaths from road accidents are competing with those of serious epidemics.

“We had COVID-19, a terrible epidemic in two years, and the people who died out of the pandemic were over 4,000. Yet in one year alone 4,324 died out of crashes. This means that this problem is worse than the pandemic.” He said.

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The Interior CS explained that road accidents are becoming a big problem and many lives are being lost across the country.

“On Monday we lost close to 20 people in separate incidents. Road accidents are becoming a major killer in our country.” He added.

His sentiments come after the Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen stated that to prevent deaths on our roads, all stakeholders within the road transport sector must be alive to the fact that road safety is a shared responsibility, and we must all play our rightful roles even as the  Government puts the measures required in place.

Murkomen stated that there will be a crackdown by the National Police Service and NTSA to intensify the ongoing nationwide enforcement and impound all unroadworthy vehicles and those not integrated with intelligent road safety Management systems for transmission of speed limiter data.

He added that the Cabinet has approved the establishment of the Kenya Transport Accident Investigation Bureau, which will be an independent and autonomous agency for the investigation of road, rail, and water transport.

The Bill is currently with the Attorney-General for publication.

According to the CS, the Bureau will work independently and thoroughly investigate all transport-related accidents and make recommendations to stem the rising fatalities.

On Monday the Senate Committee on Road and Transport Chairman, Kiambu senator Karungo wa Thang’wa disclosed that the Senate will summon Murkomen over the increase in the number of road accidents.

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