Politics and policy
MPs propose stiffer penalties in Traffic Bill
Posted Wednesday, June 13 2012 at 20:37
MPs have proposed further changes to the Traffic (Amendment) Bill, which if passed will see traffic offenders convicted to life imprisonment.
The MPs said the discretion given to the courts must be limited so that those who cause death do not get lighter sentences.
“We should spell out the minimum sentences to be meted on reckless drivers who kill and maim. In fact, a person who has killed through accident must be charged with murder,” nominated MP Millie Odhiambo proposed.
“The law must guard against unnecessary deaths occasioned by people who want to make super profits at the shortest time possible,” she said.
The Bill, sponsored by Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, proposes a life imprisonment for any motorist who causes death by dangerous driving. The Bill also proposes the scrapping of the Traffic Department so that all police officers enforce traffic laws.
The Amendment Bill proposes to raise penalties for breaking traffic rules and causing accidents in an effort to restore sanity on Kenyan roads.
Public Service Vehicle (PSV) drivers will be jailed for 10 years if found drunk while driving. The Bill will also require video cameras to be mounted at police check points to stop bribery. MPs supported the proposal to deny licences to those found guilty of causing deaths from reckless driving.
The MPs said highway authorities should erect road signs and provide notices of closure during repairs to avert accidents.
They demanded that the traffic police be completely delinked from the Internal Security ministry to Transport to enforce the road safety laws.
Contributing to debate on the Bill, Manyatta MP Emilio Kathuri was the only MP who opposed the Bill. “I oppose this Bill as a person who survived on income from PSVs,” said Kathuri who has interests in the sector.
He said the bill has too much bias against PSVs, yet government and private vehicles caused accidents and have not been covered in the Bill.
“If we pass a biased bill against PSV, it means private vehicles will get away with accidents. Punishment should be meted to all in equal measure,” Kathuri said.
He said when the law becomes too harsh and excessive, it will bring in corruption.
The MPs called for a crack down on public vehicles fitted with televisions and loud music gadgets as well as those that are multicolored.