Oil tankers back on the road at night


Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Trucks ferrying petroleum products will now be allowed to operate at night again following new regulations that lift the ban.

Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes has signed the fresh regulations that have cancelled the rule that barred petrol tankers from the road between 6.30pm and 6.30am.

“The principal regulations are amended in regulation 8 by — deleting paragraph (k) and substituting therefore the following new paragraph —operate during the day and night,” read the regulations.

The truck drivers will be required to have a journey plan for each trip and be allowed to drive continuously for a maximum of eight hours in a day.

The tankers will now be required to have a line of reflective tape along the entire horizonta length of the left and right side of the tank as well as across their rear side to ease identification in darkness. Tanker owners will also be required to install a tracking device for monitoring, under the new regulations.

The move is a big win for the transporters who have protested the ban introduced in 2013, but the regulator has been lax in enforcing the ban.

A standoff between the distributors and the department of petroleum ensued in early 2017 when the ban was enforced, causing a fuel crisis in parts of the country.

The energy regulator relaxed the ban to allow transporters to find “safe” parking should they be on the road after 6.30pm when the ban begins.

The move which was meant to enhance safety may turn counter-productive if truck drivers are allowed to park where dusk finds them, posing even more danger to the public, the regulator argued.

The governmnet began tightening the night transport rules for petroleum products after the 2016 night accident that killed 33 people near Karai on the Nairobi-Naivasha highway.

A truck carrying inflammable substances had rammed several vehicles before bursting into flames, reviving debate on why it was allowed to transport the substances at night.