According to the WHO, Kenya is ranked 15th worldwide in terms of the number of fatalities per 100,000 vehicles on the road.
Over three thousand road-related fatalities occur per annum. Most of these people are vulnerable road users – pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists.
Bamburi Cement in Partnership with NTSA, Machakos County Government with industry players today marked the 12th Annual Road Safety campaign at the Machakos Junction to sensitize drivers, motorbike riders, pedestrians, and other road users on road safety along the Northern corridor and other roads in the Country.
Bamburi Cement as one of the largest contributors to the number of vehicles on Kenyan roads with between 900 – 1,000 trucks transporting Bamburi’s raw materials and products and covering over 20 million kilometers per annum, launched a Road Safety Program in 2006. Anchored on the Driver Management, Vehicle Management, Journey Management, Load Management, and Contractor Management.
As passenger motorbike (boda-boda) numbers continue to increase from 16,293 in 2007 to 186,434 in 2017 according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data, there is need to empower motorized- and non-motorized road users with road safety information, skills, and equipment.
Since the inception of the program, a total of over 1,500 drivers with annual refreshers and over 6,000 boda-boda riders have been trained along the Northern Corridor, contributing to the reduction of road carnage and deaths. As at December 2018, the number of accidents/deaths along the Corridor stood at below 3,000, compared to just below 5,000 in 2006, when the Road Safety program was launched.
‘’Sustainability drives our operations every day and we care about the communities we operate around. As a sign of our commitment, we started a Road Safety program that has run for the last 12 years and annually we to train 1500 drivers, 500 Motorcyclists and other road users on road safety and defensive driving, Mr. Seddiq Hassani Group Managing Director, Bamburi Cement Limited. In 2018, the Bamburi subcontracted drivers covered a total of 20 Million kilometers in the country, with zero fatalities, added Hassani.
The road safety situation along the Northern Corridor is poor and unacceptable. The corridor has a severe road safety challenge due to the high volumes and nature of long-distance transport operations, a challenge compounded by the presence of roadside human settlements in addition to high levels of traffic volumes, an unmanaged mix of motorized and non-motorized users, and mixed speed road environments.
A 2015 report by NTSA indicated that road accidents cost the economy at least Sh300 billion a year with the most affected age groups in terms of fatalities being those aged between 20-44 years with the peak age being 30-34. The key driver of crashes along the corridor include human factors, infrastructure, vehicle, and environmental factors.
Despite this, there are best practices lessons that reveal that if interventions are strategically implemented, significant road safety improvements and minimal road traffic crashes at organizational and national levels can be achieved. Progressive and responsive legislation, enforcement and design & construction of safer roads.
Speaking during the event, Bright Oywayo, a road accident survivor called for more collaboration amongst the private and public entities in the road safety management space saying, “Prevention of road accidents and post-crash support is not a monopoly. To achieve more impact stakeholders should not operate in silos but work closely together.”
These best practices founded on Behavioral change, Partnership building, Fleet safety/workplace safety Management, Training, and Capacity building, Post-crash emergency response and; Sustainable funding along the corridor and elsewhere can be replicated for enhanced road safety at Relative Signal Strength (RSS) level.
‘’Reliable and accurate data are also needed to correctly identify problems, risk factors, and priority areas, and to formulate strategy, set targets and monitor performance thereafter raise awareness about the magnitude of road traffic injuries, and inform policy formulation and implementation and solution’’. Chairman NTSA- Lt Gen (Rtd) Jackson Ndung’u Waweru, CBS, OGW.
Further, the need to leverage on Technology arose that’s why a group subcontracted transporters along the northern Corridor were transporters underwent an In-Vehicle Monitoring System (IVMS) upgrade which monitors driver behavior such as harsh braking, harsh acceleration, freewheeling (driving on neutral gear), speeding, driving hours and fuel consumption. This helps develop the driver’s scorecard which leads to rewarding or sanctioning of the drivers, therefore, correcting driving behavior as well as positive reinforcement for the safe drivers. By end of 2018, all of Bamburi’s subcontracted transporters were at 100% compliance.