Private sector should play bigger role in road safety

By: BOB COLLYMORE

We all read with dismay the tragic story of Alex Madaga from Kangemi who was hit by a speeding vehicle along Waiyaki Way and was forced to spend 18 hours in an ambulance outside the Kenyatta National Hospital and who sadly succumbed to his injuries before he could be attended to.

Unfortunately, Madaga’s is not an isolated story.

More than 3,000 people die from avoidable road accidents on Kenyan roads every year.

The number of lives lost on the roads are comparable to a 60-seater passenger bus crashing and killing all on board every week, for a year.

ROAD TRAFFIC VICTIMS

Every third Sunday of November, the world marks the Day for Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims.

The day has been marked since 1993 and was adopted by the United Nations in 2005.

It is a day set aside to remember the millions of people killed and injured in road traffic accidents, their families, their caregivers, communities and countries.

Here in Kenya, we mark this day against a backdrop of increased road traffic deaths and injuries.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) gives grim statistics that sadly keep rising.

Data from the NTSA indicates that the number of accident victims has increased by 3.7 per cent as of October this year.

The total number of lives lost between January and October last year were 2,346, compared to 2,434 over the same period this year.

Such numbers make us all concerned that we may also end up like Madaga, a victim of a road accident, a man who left his house in the morning and never made it back. A statistic.

HOW ROAD CARNAGE AFFECTS SOCIETY

Road carnage is a serious tragedy that has adverse effects on each one of us as individuals and corporates.

Road deaths and injuries are traumatic and leave permanent scars.

These road tragedies continue robbing businesses of their productive staff and customers.

We, as responsible businesses, must take part in ongoing efforts to reduce road traffic accidents and the subsequent mortalities.

Road safety should be a central component of any businesses Health and Safety policy.

PRIVATE SECTOR’S ROLE

As a country and mainly the private sector, we should invest in fleet management and tracking systems necessary to ensure that our vehicles uphold and maintain road safety at all times.

Each company should aim at embracing and promoting road safety to its staff and the public as part of their core business agenda.

Some of the relatively simple interventions that corporates should put in place that will ensure immediate results include assisted crossing by road marshals, erecting pedestrian barriers and rehabilitating pedestrian walks.

The National Transport and Safety Authority has in place a partnership framework that provides options and information on how corporates can go about implementing these interventions.

As we remember the victims of road traffic accidents, let us not forget to appreciate the commendable job of emergency responders who selflessly offer their services to accident victims in difficult circumstances and times in late hours of the night.

We must commend the selfless service by the likes of Brian Odhiambo, a Paramedic who stayed with Madaga for 18 hours monitoring and helping stabilise his condition as he waited to be admitted in the ICU facility.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION