Kenya’s media, Safaricom plan fighting reckless driving
- Published on 26 October 2012
Media owners in Kenya have partnered with mobile operator Safaricom to fight road carnage that claims more than 3,000 lives every year.
About 2, 524 people have died in road accidents this year, while 8,449 road crashes had been reported as at August 2012 according to statistics from the Ministry of Transport . Among those killed pedestrians were hardest hit at 1,236, 241 drivers, 607 passengers, 253 motorcyclists, 92 pedal-cyclists while pedal passengers were 95.
To combat further road carnage, the Media Owners Association (MOA) and Safaricom this week launched a three-year multi-sectoral National Road Safety Programme to promote road safety ahead of end year festivities that are known to claim hundreds of lives in Kenya due to drunk driving and speeding.
The programme plans to tackle education and awareness, passenger empowerment, road infrastructure, safety equipment, emergency response as well as policy and advocacy.
Kiprono Kittony, chair of Radio Africa Group and MOA, said the media is planning to use editorials, advertisements, talk shows and newspaper headlines to fight the death toll on Kenyan roads which he says threatens to annihilate the country's citizenry.
“The media plays a crucial role in highlighting matters of national importance. Over the years, we have reported on injuries and deaths resultant from road accidents. We did this as news, but now, media owners want to play their role in galvanizing Kenyans to take action to end road carnage. Through this partnership, we can save lives,” said Kittony.
The campaign is anchored on the call 'Toa Sauti’ (Swahili for 'speak out') and will sensitise Kenyans on the need to take personal responsibility for their actions as drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Kittony said members of the public would be urged to speak out against drunk driving, speeding and overloading.
The programme will be spearheaded by an 11 member Trust whose membership includes the government, Traffic Police, MOA, Safaricom, Matatu Owners Association, Kenyatta National Hospital, East Africa Breweries Limited, Total Kenya, General Motors and Direct Line Assurance.
Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore said Kenya's road accidents death toll is a national crisis that disproportionately impacts families and imposes a substantial burden on Kenya's economy.
“In Kenya, road accidents have become an acceptable part of our lives. Repeated occurrences have resulted in overexposure. Given that we are approaching the accident prone December period, the timing of this launch couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Collymore.
Government statistics which indicate that 3,000 people die in road carnage only account for those who die at the scene of the accident, while thousands are believed to perish in hospitals or en-route as a result of injuries, as others become handicapped for life.
Other than recklessness, bad roads and bribery of traffic police officers by drivers and owners of unroadworthy vehicles, has been partly blamed for the country's high road carnage.