Politics and policy
Parliament approves tough traffic rules
Posted Wednesday, June 27 2012 at 22:24
Parliament has approved the controversial Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2012, which targets enhanced penalties for traffic offenders, including life in prison.
Only seven MPs, who were in the House in the morning session, passed the Bill in 40 minutes. The Bill also proposes to abolish the Traffic Police Department.
Apart from prescribing stiffer penalties for reckless and drunk drivers, the Bill vests ownership of motor vehicle identification plates on the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
The changes would see the plates surrendered to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles once a motor vehicle changes hands.
Drivers of public service vehicles will be required to undergo a mandatory eye test every three years while motorcyclists will be restricted to carrying only one passenger.
On Wednesday, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, who sponsored the Bill, pledged broad consultations with stakeholders including the Ministry of Transport, which opposed the legislation. Input from stakeholders would be incorporated at the Committee Stage.
He said he had reached a consensus with Transport Minister Amos Kimunya to marry the proposals from the Executive into the Bill to avoid duplication.
“We are going to call a meeting for stakeholders including police, matatu operators and owners to bring their views on board before making amendments to the Bill,” he said.
The Cabinet recently approved a parallel Bill with the same objectives.
Mr Kimunya last Wednesday described it as impractical, un-implementable and one-sided,” saying the life sentence for causing death through a traffic accident was punitive.
“No one plans for an accident and the punishment should be equal to the offence. We should not be insensitive to motorists,” the minister said.