Kenya’s integrated telecommunications services provider Safaricom and the Media Owners Association (MOA), an organisation of media agencies, has today launched a three-year multi-sectoral and SMS-based initiative named the “National Road Safety Programme” aimed at addressing runaway road carnage.
According to Kenya’s Traffic Police Commandant Benson Kibui, an estimated 2,000 people have died on Kenyan roads since the start of this month.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said that the initiative, which is anchored on the clarion call ‘Toa Sauti’ (speak out), intends to sensitise Kenyans on the need to take personal responsibility for their actions as drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
He said that the initiative aims to galvanise both the public and private sectors to address road safety issues.
President Kibaki, in a speech read on his behalf by Finance Minister Njeru Githae, expressed that though the administration prioritised development of transport infrastructure, it faced certain challenges in terms of how best to utilise it.
“The National Road Safety Trust is the appropriate vehicle to bring together the stakeholders who can drive meaningful change to the current situation,” he said.
Toa Sauti is an initiative with a concerted educational campaign aimed at influencing behavioural change on the part of all road users, enabling mobile users to send a short USSD code (*700#) to report on a range of road related issues.
Presently, Kenya records more than 3,000 deaths a year from road accidents, one of the highest globally, according to traffic statistics.
However, there are hopes that the campaign will have a successful impact due to the high and increasing penetration of mobile telephony within the country.
The efficient telecommunication setup and coverage will spearhead instant reports of accidents, careless drivers, commendable drivers, poor or unmaintained roads alongside public service vehicle (PSV) operators.