More than 4,432 people have so far been killed in road accidents in Kenya this year.
This is a three percent increase as compared to the 4,271 that had died by November 15, 2021.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said the figures are alarming.
He said a high number of road carnage results from avoidable human factors including driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, dangerous overtaking, fatigue, and ignoring traffic lights and signs among others.
“It is imperative for all road users to observe traffic rules and reduce road carnage which has in the past been rampant during this season.”
He made the remarks Tuesday at a joint press conference at Harambee House with his interior counterpart Kithure Kindiki.
Murkomen said the government has stepped up efforts to reduce the trend by adopting a multi-pronged strategy that entails public awareness and enforcement.
“We are working with citizens to promote personal responsibility by encouraging passengers in both private and public vehicles to speak out against reckless driving and other habits that endanger the lives of Kenyans.”
He said they had launched the 2022 December Festivity Enforcement Initiative with cognizance that a high number of road crashes occur at night due to poor visibility.
He urged motorists, especially those driving heavy commercial vehicles and public service vehicles operating at night to implement measures that will enhance visibility.
This includes proper positioning of signage like triangles, chevrons, and retro-reflective.
Motor vehicle owners, he added must move with speed to remove stalled vehicles within one hour of an incident, and ensure proper signs are placed at safe distances on the road to warn approaching motorists.
He instructed Kenya National Highways Authority, (KeNHA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) to heighten surveillance on the roads and ensure all stalled vehicles are towed within one hour to enable a smooth flow of traffic.
He also directed KeNHA and KURA to ensure vehicles passing through weighbridges are roadworthy as per the requirements of the Traffic Act.
Murkomen argued motor vehicle owners and PSV operators have often seen the festive season as a time to maximize on profit, occasioning the stretching of operations in total disregard for passenger safety.
“Drivers have often been overworked and servicing of vehicles overlooked in the name of minimizing operational costs.”
Private motor vehicle owners, heavy commercial vehicle owners and PSV Saccos should ensure drivers are well rested and vehicles well serviced before taking to the roads, he said.
He said mental health concerns in the public transport sector must also be taken into consideration.
“Government health facilities are open to any motorist battling depression, stress, and other mental illnesses,” said the CS.
NTSA should issue a road safety compliance checklist for members of the public and PSV sector players to keep them in the know on what is expected of them, he said.
Kindiki said the high number of accidents also point to human error and the merry-making and other indulgences typical of the festive season as major contributors to this notable spike.
He directed the police to crack heavily and without exceptions on those found flouting our traffic rules.
“We expect 100 percent compliance with the relevant traffic requirements by motorists and other road users. These rules must be observed in their entirety by all,” he said.