Road accidents (Carnage) in Kenya. How organizations can contribute to address this imminent Human and Economic crisis.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction to road accidents in Kenya
2. The main issues with road accidents
3. Other subsidiary issues
4. The effect of road accidents to businesses and the economy
5. Prepare to manage road safety challenges in an organisation
6. Dealing with ethical and legal issues
7. Future implications if issue is not addressed
Last year, 1 day before Christmas day, the Kenya Traffic police led by the Police Commissioner, Mr Mathew Iteere launched yet another National Road Safety Campaign aimed at curbing road accidents during the holidays and cutting the holiday period road accidents rate by 50% from the tradition high of 200-300 accidents that happen during that period from 24 December to 5 January (Daily Nation, 24th December 2009).
In his Christmas message, The Police Commissioner regretted that most road accidents in Kenya can be avoided (even eliminated). He noted that road accidents are mainly caused by carelessness (human error and poor judgement) by road users. He singled out over-speeding, over-loading, none use of the safety belts and disregard of the Highway Code as the most abused traffic rules today. In his widely televised message, he issued a warning to careless drivers and directs the traffic police (blue boys) to act on those that abuse the traffic rules.
Such a road safety crackdown is not new in the 46-year old post- independence Kenya. But those actions should be strengthened and be made into routine practices that have a longer timeframe enabling one to build the much needed sustainability.
It’s a widely known fact worldwide that road accidents cost huge amount of money let alone the lost human resources especially to the developing and undeveloped economies (WHO & World Bank report, 2004).
The combined human and economic cost is simply not acceptable to poor countries that want to boost the standard of living of their majority population with very scarce resources.
According to a recent report done jointly by the World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on road traffic injury prevention, road accident statistics are quickly becoming the global catastrophe as shown below.
▪ 1.2 million People are estimated to die globally each year on our roads. That’s around 3,000 deaths daily of which 500 of them are children.
▪ 50 million people are estimates to be injured globally on road injuries each year, 15 million seriously.
▪ Developing countries account for more that 85% of the global death toll from road traffic crashes or accidents.
▪ The global financial cost of road traffic injuries is about 518 billion USD each year (about 2-4% of GDP). Such is cost is equivalent to 50% of the GDP of Africa the continent (Kenya Statistics, 2004).
▪ For males aged 15-44, road traffic injuries rank second (after HIV/AIDS) as the leading cause of premature death and ill health worldwide.
▪ By 2020, unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to rise to about 80% in low and middle income countries especially developing countries (WHO and World Bank report, 2004).
Clearly, it is as difficult to accurately determine the economic burden of Africa's road traffic accidents, as it is to collate accident data in the first place. There are the problems of under-reporting to contend with, as well as different countries adopting different criteria e.g. defining a road traffic accident fatality (Odero & Heda, 2003). Some countries define a fatality as one occurring on the scene, others for periods of 24 hours, three days or 30 days after the event...
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