Kelvin Kituku and Lynn Muiruri will represent Kenya in an international road safety competition to be held in Viena, Austria, from 6th-8th October 2023. The two emerged winners at the inaugural Automobile Association of Kenya (AA Kenya) Best Young Driver (BYD) Contest held in Naivasha at the weekend.
The event provided a platform for them to showcase their safe driving skills and contribute to the ongoing global efforts to improve road safety. Organized by the Association through the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) the contest sought to foster a culture of road safety awareness among Kenyan youth aged 18-26 years.
AA Kenya CEO Francis Theuri emphasized the pivotal role that young Kenyan drivers can play in transforming road safety culture. “The Best Young Driver Contest not only showcases our dedication to nurturing road safety champions but also underscores the power of the youth in shaping responsible road behaviours and promoting eco-friendly driving practices. They possess the enthusiasm, innovation, and adaptability needed to transform our roads into safer spaces for everyone,” Mr Theuri said.
Both under the age of 26, the winners secured their positions as Kenya’s representatives after emerging victorious among over 60 participants at the BYD contest. The BYD competition, which commenced with an online road safety examination, aims to make road safety a focal point of consciousness for the youth. It attracted more than 2000 participants in the first phase.
As part of the contest, young drivers underwent a series of rigorous tests that assessed their driving abilities in real-life scenarios, including responses to accidents and injuries.
The championship, which debuted in Slovenia in 2017, incorporates a multifaceted approach that encompasses online theory driving tests, medical fitness assessments, knowledge of road traffic rules and signs, obstacle driving, and emergency driving among others. Besides, the audience present were offered training sessions in road safety insights, basic emergency skills, and interactive activities.
Additionally, the Mobility and Health Partners provided a platform for stakeholders to showcase solutions that contribute to safer and healthier mobility practices.
Kelvin Kituku, the overall winner of the BYD contest, said: “This event has opened my eyes to the importance of road safety. I am committed to being a safer driver and am Honored to represent Kenya on the global stage”.
Echoing his sentiments, the runners up Lynn Muiruri, emphasized the need to develop a culture of safe driving to reduce the toll of road accidents. “Safe driving is our responsibility to prevent the loss of loved ones due to road crashes. As young drivers, we can drive change and save lives,” she said.
Worrying accidents rate
According to recent data from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), there is an alarming rate in road accidents causing significant loss of life. The data shows that in the period ending June 2023, pedestrians and motorcyclists have been disproportionately affected, with 729 pedestrians and 561 motorcyclist fatalities recorded, among the 2,124 Kenyans who lost their lives within the same review period.
On a global scale, road accidents result in a staggering 1.34 million deaths and millions more injuries each year. AA Kenya plans to make this competition annual, aligning with its dedication to curbing road accidents and nurturing responsible driving practices.