Safaricom and the Media Owners Association (MOA) have partnered with private and public sector organisations to launch a nationwide campaign on road safety.
The partners have also formed a National Road Safety Trust that will spearhead the countrywide road safety initiative to address the alarmingly high rates of road carnage. The trust brings together government, private sector and civil society in a collaborative endeavour to address various factors that have contributed to increased incidences of traffic related injuries and fatalities.
During a stakeholder workshop to discuss a roadmap for the Trust, the campaign leaders announced that they are planning a formal launch later in the month and that they have requested the President to serve as the Trust’s patron.
A 9-member Board of Trustees comprising representatives from Safaricom, MOA, the Kenya Police, the government, various road safety stakeholders and other private sector players will coordinate the activities of the Trust with Trustees holding office for a 2-year renewable tenure.
The objectives of the National Road Safety Trust include advocating for sound road safety behaviour and initiating sustainable road safety and traffic campaigns alongside advancing road safety educational program.
The Campaign also aims to initiate and support sustainable road safety and traffic initiatives; advance road safety education and carry out public campaigns for road safety education, awareness and training and to coordinate and advance road safety educational programmes.
Safaricom CEO and Trust Co-Founder, Bob Collymore noted that despite a rise in the number of road accidents, not enough has been done to address the problem noting that “road accidents claim 10 people a day, yet we are not giving this problem the same focus as we give terror related activities that kill 30-40 annually.”
“One of the most powerful legacies of this government is infrastructural development. Kenyans however lack the requisite education on how to deal with the same infrastructure. Public education and awareness creation will therefore play a big role in mitigating the rising cases of road accidents particularly on the Thika Super Highway,” said Kiprono Kittony, MOA chair.
As part of the contribution, the MOA have committed dedicated print and electronic coverage for the duration of the campaign as support for the Road Safety initiative.
The campaign comes at a time when industry figures indicate that an average of 30 road accidents are reported every day in Kenya, with official records showing that an estimated 3,000 people die annually. The deaths have largely been blamed on low levels of adherence to road traffic rules by PSVs, and the influx of “boda bodas.”
The cause of most road accidents is behavioural – careless driving, drunk driving and visual impairment, with a study done by Kenyatta National Hospital revealing that 55 per cent of road users have poor eyesight and should not be driving at night. Other causes are weather and road obstructions, poor roads, un-roadworthy vehicles and over-speeding.
The year to date has seen an unprecedented amount of road accidents, and deaths, particularly on the new highways. There is limited capacity for first aid, and or emergency response to road traffic accidents, particularly outside of main cities and towns
The country’s public hospitals are also strained in terms of resources to respond to road accidents, with Kenyatta National Hospital stating that the facility spends Kshs10 million a week to treat accident victims.