Matatu drivers set for fresh training in new road safety measures

A matatu that was involved in an accident on the Nyahuru-Nyeri road in November. file photo | nmg
A matatu that was involved in an accident on the Nyahuru-Nyeri road in November. file photo | nmg 

All drivers handling passenger service vehicles (PSV) and trucks must head back to training schools in a raft of measures the State announced in its latest bid to curb road carnage, which claimed about 300 people last December.

In a joint statement sent to newsrooms on Wednesday, Transport secretary James Macharia and his Interior counterpart Fred Matiang’i said the measures would put an end to rampant road accidents witnessed in the recent past.

“All the 98,000 PSV and 302,000 commercial vehicle driver licence holders in the country will be retrained.

“The retraining will also include medical tests for those conditions which may affect the driver’s ability to drive,” said the ministers.

Measures, which take effect immediately, include profiling of all drivers and impounding illegal PSVs. They said the programme would start with 8,000 long distance PSV drivers whose operation includes night travel.

Another 18,000 long distance operators would be trained ahead of the remaining 72,000 drivers. Government institutions such as the Rift Valley Technical Training College, Kenya Institute of Highways and Building Technologies and Kenya Technical Trainers College ar some of the bodies that will handle the training.

Others are the National Youth service, Kabete Technical Institute, National Industrial Training Authority and Baringo Technical College.

“These institutions have started implementing the new detailed curriculum for driver training and testing. In a week, they can train about 2,800 drivers,” said Mr Macharia.

He said the Transport and Interior ministries would impound all PSVs operating illegally. They include low-capacity vehicles operating long distances such as Nairobi to Kisumu and Meru to Nyeri.

Others are station wagon cars that carry up to 14 passengers including in the boot against the vehicle capacity of five people.

“Those that only come out at night because they do not have insurance or licences to operate as PSVs and commonly referred to as ‘usiku saccos’ will also be netted,” he said.

The government last month recommended for the deregistration of all driving schools, erection of speed bumps on certain roads and restructuring of the Traffic Police Department in its latest bid to curb road crashes.

Other measures were retraining of drivers, installation of road signs, marking of road surfaces and construction of footbridges in various parts of the country and dualling of roads at black spots.