The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has issued a series of warnings to drivers ferrying students ahead of closure of schools next week.
Samwel Musumba, the NTSA’s road safety strategy manager, emphasized that matatus caught engaging in acts of indiscipline will be subject to legal consequences.
“We’ve witnessed instances in the past where matatus have been carrying students who engage in drinking or smoking aboard. This behaviour is unacceptable, and we are actively discouraging it,” Musumba commented.
“Any operator whose vehicles are found to be involved in such incidents will face appropriate action according to the law. Such behaviour is simply not acceptable.”
He stressed the importance of adhering to traffic regulations and ensuring students are properly buckled up to minimize the risk of unnecessary traffic accidents.
He also appealed to school administrators to release students earlier in the day to prevent matatus from operating late into the night, as this significantly increases the likelihood of accidents.
“Ensure that schools close early in the mornings. Get the children to wherever destination they are going to early enough and don’t operate into the night,” Musumba said.
He also urged schools to ensure their vehicles are in optimal condition before transporting students.
Musumba implored school authorities to refrain from assigning drivers who are fatigued, stressed, or dealing with mental health issues.
The NTSA’s actions follow several months of scrutiny faced by road authorities after a tragic April incident on the Nakuru Highway, which resulted in the loss of six students’ lives.
Reports indicated that the driver’s ill-fated attempt to overtake led to a collision with a lorry in the Delamare area of Naivasha.
In response to the country’s escalating number of road accidents, the Ministry of Transport introduced comprehensive new measures in July.
To tackle this issue, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen issued a series of directives, including the mandatory installation of dashboard cameras and telematics in all Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) and school buses.
The severity of the situation is underscored by the most recent statistics released by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA). Their data shows 2,124 lives were tragically lost in road accidents throughout Kenya between January and June 2023.