By HENRY OWINO
Global road traffic crashes claim the lives of an estimated 1.25 million people and another 20-50 million injuries annually. These traffic accidents cause burden to the healthcare system to an estimated cost of US$ 518 billion every year.
This data is according to the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) records released to media houses on Tuesday 10, November, 2020.
According to George Njao, Director General, NTSA Kenya, the country loses approximately 3000 lives annually as a result of road traffic crashes. Unfortunately, many families and households are driven to poverty and devastation as they grapple with loss of love ones and breadwinners.
“Crash survivors and their families are forced to cope with the painful and often long-term consequences of injury, disability and rehabilitation,” Njao laments.
According to NTSA report between January to 30 October, 2020, a total of 3,114 lives had been lost on the Kenya’s roads. This is an increase by 5.8 percent compared to the year 2019 where 2,942 persons lost their lives.
The report analysis shows that majority of the fatalities are attributed to human behavior or error and brake failure. This includes breaching speed limits and freewheeling in an attempt to save on fuel.such as speeding, drive or ride while drunk, walking drunk by pedestrians. Others include dangerous and careless driving, fatigue especially with long distance drivers.
Other common causes of these accidents are distracted driving, drunk driving, rains, running red lights, night driving, tailgating, wrong-way driving, potholes, design defects, improper turns, teenage driving, drugs, tyre blowouts and animal crossings are other causes among others are main causes.
Road fatalities include;pedestrians 1108, motor cyclists 884, passengers 424, pillion passengers 350, drivers 275 and pedal cyclists 73.
So, all road users such as motor cyclists, pedal cyclists, pillion passengers, long distance truck drivers, pedestrians are to blame for the roads carnage.
“In order to reverse this trend, the Authority must work with media stakeholders to promote behavior change among road users,” Njao suggests.
“We call upon the media to support the government’s efforts geared towards this noble cause during the World Day of Remembrance (WDR) for Road Traffic Crash Victims observed worldwide every third Sunday of November each year,” he asserts.
The day was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 26 October, 2005, and it is dedicated to remember the many millions killed and injured on the roads.
This year, the day will be commemorated on Sunday 15 November, 2020 with the theme: “Remember, Support, and Act” which calls for a concerted action to protectively address road carnage even as the road crash victims are remembered.
“This year, in commemorating this Day, we request media house through their television and radio stations to hold a minute of silence during the 7pm news bulletin to highlight the emotional and socio-economic devastation caused by road crashes and recognize the loss and suffering of the bereaved and injured,” NTSA Director General pleaded.
Njao explained the initiative offers media audience and the country at large a realization of the impact and burden of road traffic crashes while at the same time promote the need for behavior change.
Over the previous years, the Authority organizes inter-religious prayers across the country. However, due to the upsurge of Coronavirus cases in the country, the need to observe existing protocols and put in place measures to prevent further spread of Covid-19 is crucial. For the reason, the Authority has resolved to scale down on public engagements.