As MPs prepare to debate a Bill that seeks to increase vehicle speed limits to 130 kilometres per hour, it would be wise for them to take time to consider air pollution rates as well as the toll of road traffic crashes.
The proposed speed limit will apply to roads with dual carriageways and those classified as Class “A” and B” in the Kenya Roads Act 2007. The current allowable top speed limit on Kenyan roads is 110kph on motorways and on the Thika Superhighway, while the lowest is 30kph near schools and road construction sites.
Whereas the higher speed limits on dual carriageways is worth considering, the 130kph to be introduced for single carriage ways is likely to exacerbate the problem of fatalities and injuries on Kenyan roads. This position is informed by the rising deaths arising from reckless driving. This problem becomes all the more significant considering that the bulk of Class “A” and B” roads are single lane.
The rate of road traffic deaths in Kenya far exceeds the global rate and is somewhat higher than the average for Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) data.
Kenyan lawmakers should consider these expert views before reaching a deal on the speed limit Bill.