Kenyans love their cars, the 4 by 4s, motorbikes, matatus, buses, no wait let me write that again. Kenyans love their 4 cars per houses, two bullet proofed 4 by 4s, irritating bodas bodas, dare to die matatus and irrational buses.
Yes that’s the scene on the roads nowadays, whether it is a busy Nairobi road, the highway to Naivasha or a quiet one in Kisumu, road carnage has spread like a virus in this country. There is just no courtesy, too many vehicles and not enough roads or two cents of patience.
Thus, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) laid out its vision, which says “Sustainable and Safe Road Transport System with Zero Crashes”. In their 2015 road safety report they have indicated that an estimated 3,000 deaths from road crashes occur annually in Kenya and about 40 % are pedestrians.
This is also from their report, that the most affected age groups in terms of fatalities was between 20-44 years with the peak age being 30-34 .
Therefore looking at the above information the NTSA is proposing that bus drivers should be the age of 30 and above, matatus drivers should be 25 years and above, boda boda riders should be 21 years and above and finally over 60 year olds will need to undergo an annual medical fitness test before license renewal. Will this make any difference? I don’t think so.
When a university or college graduate completes their education, they are bursting to get into employment and earn an income to pay off debts or start a new life. This is the perfect time to grab them, train them and I will stress on the word train, because that’s the first failure of driving schools. While a few are respectable and continue to perform the correct way of teaching and honest rules, the majority are corrupt and buying off lessons and licenses. First stop this corruption and lack of proper driving instructors, their job is not to put drivers on the road for the sake of paying their upkeep but to put responsible, proud drivers who love their life and others more. It starts with mental training of what is a vehicle, why is it important and what it can do if you loose control.
The second part to fix is the basic respect to give to the matatu driver as the owner of the vehicle or for the bus and so on. When you are just pushing him or her to make a profit kill, there will be road carnage. Are you as the owner dying to get rich in just one day? You obviously have several businesses already running on every side, but the most dangerous is putting the lives of so many innocent Kenyans at risk just because of your greed. Give your driver respect, a good pay and training and they will love their live. This applies to bus owners too, who compete with the matatus as if they are the dragons and they spit fire to anybody who comes in their way. It is simply disgusting but giving the human resource, the staff that runs the entire fleet can make the biggest difference. For example the private drivers or company drivers that we have, you must have noticed where there is training and open communication of consequences of misuse, drunk driving and so on, there is less accidents and problems.
Coming to the boda boda drivers, they need the most training and especially a thorough vetting process. In the disguise of providing transport they are almost like gangs and the cause of several robberies and insecurity in the suburbs. It all comes down to how much does a Kenyan value his or her life, what do we have to live for? Make it worth it, the Kenya Police as per my personal experience are there to regulate the law but they are helpless because of road killers. Even private car owners now drive as if they own the lanes and their time is more important. When you will smash into another car or truck and your time is over then your time will stop being important. Respect others, respect the lawmakers but it should be mutual too.