Kenya's National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is taking action to address the concerning increase in road accidents involving school buses and heavy commercial vehicles.

The authority announced plans to revise existing regulations, emphasizing public participation to ensure a well-rounded approach.

"We will start public participation across the country on April 15 and this process aims to gather insight and feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including transport operators, parents, regulatory bodies and the general public," said NTSA Director General George Njao during a meeting with transport stakeholders on Thursday.

The current regulations haven't been reviewed since 2017, and NTSA considers this a crucial step towards improved road safety.

Focus on School Bus Safety

The revision process for school transport regulations will target several key areas.

NTSA aims to address concerns regarding the conduct of staff on school buses, ensuring a consistent color scheme for easy identification, mandating adult supervision for students during transportation, and establishing clear operational timeframes for school bus services.

Collaboration for Enhanced Safety of Heavy Commercial Vehicles

For heavy commercial vehicles, NTSA acknowledges the need for collaboration with other regulatory bodies.

A key focus will be on working with the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to tackle safety issues related to accidents involving fuel tankers and vehicles transporting hazardous materials.

Data Unveils Disturbing Rise in Fatalities

The urgency for these revisions is underscored by a recent surge in road accident fatalities.

NTSA data reveals a troubling 7 per cent increase in fatalities between January and March 20, 2024, compared to the same period in 2023.

During this timeframe, a total of 1,026 lives were tragically lost on Kenyan roads, compared to 959 fatalities in 2023.

The data further breaks down the fatalities by category, highlighting the vulnerability of various road users.

Pedestrians bore the brunt with 384 deaths, followed by motorcyclists (242), passengers (225), drivers (77), pillion passengers (82), and pedal cyclists (16).

By actively engaging stakeholders and revising the regulatory framework, NTSA hopes to significantly enhance road safety for school children, commercial vehicle operators, and all Kenyans who utilize the country's transportation network.