by David Karani
Night travel for Public Service Vehicles in Kenya has been suspended indefinitely following the death of more than 100 people during the month of December.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) announced the ban after the latest accident in Salgaa that claimed 36 lives on New Year;s eve.
Director General Francis Mejja said all travelling will be between 6 am and 7 pm.
“Over the recent past, our records indicate that majority of crashes are occurring during the night and in order to review the effectiveness of the current measures in place to improve road safety, the authority in consultation with other relevant government agencies suspends night travels for all distance public service vehicles from December 31st,” a joint statement with the police traffic department read.
The move was however met with protests from the Matatu Owners Association who called for dialogue over the ban.
The Association chairman Simon Kimutai said there ought to have been engagement on the specific time when long distance public service vehicles need to be banned from the roads. He proposed that the night travek ban should be imposed between 1030pm and 5 am.
The Salgaa accident involving a truck and bus happened at Migaa area around 3.30am.
The bus was travelling towards Nakuru and investigations indicate that the driver left his lane and collided with the oncoming trailer.
“The trailer, KBK 907C and bus KCC 003A belonging to Nairobi Bus Corporation crashed between Sanchangwan and Salgaa centres,” NTSA said.
Several other people are receiving treatment in Molo and Nakuru hospitals.
More than 100 people have perished in the area this month alone.
The 14 kilometre stretch on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway has become synonymous with gruesome accidents that have claimed hundreds of lives over the years.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who is also the Vice Chairman of Transport and Infrastructure committee in Parliament said he will push for a motion to have enforcement of laws on the road returned to the police.
“As the Vice Chair of the Transport and Infrastructure committee in the National Assembly, I will drive the move to return enforcement work to the National Police Service. Can we agree to go back to bans on PSV night travel for the next 6 months as we make the necessary changes? May the Salgaa victims rest in peace.” Kuria said on his FaceBook page.
Kuria said NTSA has been overwhelmed with the enforcement while its core mandate was policy and standards planning adding that other bodies in the country are not delivering in their mandate.
“I agree that most accidents occur due to fatigue but there needs to be engagement on time when such vehicles need to be stopped from ferrying passengers,” Mutai said.