The horrific road accident has claimed more than 30 lives in a place that is synonymous with carnage road accidents. The enormity of the accident is magnified by the number deaths and vehicles that were involved in it. The accident at the dreaded Sachangwan area involved 13 other vehicles on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.
It was the horror at the site, the images of bodies strewn at the scene of the road accident and the wails from the relatives that sticks with you. More so because familiar sites on this very road are commonplace. The stretch between Malaba and Mombasa is well known to have several black spots.
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The number of those who lost their lives has been oscillating between 20 and 16 depending on who is telling the story. Eyewitnesses insist that there were about 20 people who died in the carnage while police maintain that the number is 16.
According to Nakuru county police commander Hassan Barua the accident involved thirteen vehicles among them six Public Service Vehicle (PSV), four personal cars, double-cabin and two trailers.
NTSA has denied claims that its vehicle was hot on the trail of the trailer driver after he refused to stop resulting in the accident. The driver allegedly did not stop at a roadblock. The brakes of the trailer he was driving failed as he sped off.
Director general Francis Meja on Tuesday defended his officers stating that they were being crucified.
“If you look at the distance where our vehicles were stationed at that time, it is just 500 metres and there is no way the truck would have gained such momentum. We, therefore, ask the public to stop such speculations,” Meja added.
Authorities are quick to offer solutions on how to reduce road accidents on the highway that has, over the years, become a death trap. Most of the solutions are verbal promises that are rarely followed through.
That partly explains why Kenya is ranked among the top 20 countries in the world with the worst road fatalities according to Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015.
There are many factors that are well known to contribute to the increasing number of road accidents. Track drivers on long-distance travel rarely get enough sleep. Their chase for shillings superceding the lives of other road users.
It is no secret that most public transport vehicles ‘rule’ the roads. They will speed and the police rarely bat an eyelid. Bribery is commonplace even when it has been called out by a public fed up with the theatrics.
The ‘macho wars’ that exist between truck and bus drivers must be called out too. They are ugly and more so on the road https://youtu.be/dJL0mL2qiYgthat is now an open coffin- Mombasa – Malaba road. the speeding and overtaking on a road that is already congested tell a lot about our collective attitude towards road safety.
Then there are the private car owners. The ones who will not obey traffic rules. The ones who will rarely stop at red traffic lights unless there is a policeman.
Overall, there are the players who by now should have been wide awake to the unwarranted deaths of Kenyans. The government bodies that over-promise and under-deliver. Those are the ones we must take on and stand up to.
It should be a wake-up call now that in less than 24 hours, Kenya has lost more than 50 people to three road accidents that could have been averted. While at it, think about the family that lost 19 people in one road accident in Mfupi bridge, Bungoma. Perhaps responsibility starts with you.