The World Bank, through the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), is funding an initiative in Kenya that is meant to curb annual fatalities due to its high rate of traffic accidents.
This comes after a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that road traffic accidents were the leading cause of young people’s deaths in Africa.
According to the report, Africa was witnessing a road safety crisis.
Although exact figures for road safety statistics in Kenya are hard to obtain, estimates by WHO show that the country’s road death rate stands at over 30 per 100,000 people.
Furthermore, it is estimated that up to 13,000 people die each year on Kenyan roads placing Kenya among the world’s 20 most notorious countries for road deaths.
Surprisingly, if only police data was to be used, the country’s roads death rate would rank as some of the safest in the world at only 7.7 per 100,000 people.
According to research, the number of deaths are highest among pedestrians but are also particularly high among motorcycle users, a majority of whom do not wear helmets.
Another key reason for the high level of accidents is said to be Kenya’s blood alcohol limit of 0.08g alcohol per decilitre of blood, which is higher than the international guideline of 0.05g.
Although the government has signed up to a number of key initiatives aimed at reducing speed on the road,including tackling drivers who drink and drive, and improving vehicle safety, the regulations are rarely enforced.
According to the WHO, almost all countries in sub-Saharan Africa (except Liberia and Tanzania) have nominated a lead agency for road safety. These agencies, however, may not have a strong government mandate or sufficient funding.