Human errors account for more than 90 percent of all road accidents globally with up to 60 fatalities reported monthly in Nairobi alone. One of the contributing factors is drivers’ poor health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
This was revealed today during the launch of a month-long campaign by the National Road Safety Trust (NRST) to sensitise PSV owners and operators on the role good health plays in safe driving. In most cases, poor eyesight, fatigue and intoxication lead to poor judgment and eventually road accidents.
“A study by Kenyatta National Hospital shows that 55% of road users have poor eyesight and shouldn’t drive at night, yet they are still operating on our roads. And although there is legislation outlawing vehicle operation for those with such medical conditions, it currently isn’t being enforced,” said Safaricom CEO and National Road Safety Trust Founding Trustee, Bob Collymore.
Speaking at the launch, Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai welcomed the initiative saying, “In the quest to fight road carnage, little has been done to address the state of health of our PSV drivers.” He said this exercise will be conducted regularly as they continue the journey of containing road carnage.
Ms Rita Kavashe, Managing Director of General Motors East Africa, challenged both PSV operators to commit to ensuring that their vehicle are in good condition through regular service and maintaining good personal health for their drivers.
An estimated 3000 PSV operators from Nairobi, Thika, Machakos, Nakuru and Eldoret are expected to benefit from the campaign, which takes place between the June 11 (today) and the July 10 this year. During the campaign, matatu drivers, touts, boda boda riders, taxi drivers and other PSV operators will be tested for diabetes, blood pressure and eye sight.
The Kshs5 million campaign has been sponsored by General Motors East Africa Limited, Safarcom Ltd, Coca-Cola and Direct Line Assurance. The Aga Khan Hospital is providing medical personnel and test kits for the entire exercise. Also in attendance during the launch was Mr Leonard Katana, Deputy Traffic Commandant, who was representing Mr. Samuel Kimaru, the Traffic Commandant.
Mr. Katana stated that up to 60 fatalities are reported every month in Nairobi alone and attributed this to poor state of drivers’ health and corruption at large. The Deputy Traffic Commandant noted that all the road users have a responsibility to facilitate proper road usage. The campaign continues tomorrow in Nairobi before going to Machakos, Thika, Nakuru and finally in Eldoret.