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Economy

Transport regulator seeks to cap age of PSV drivers

 Kericho accident
Relatives and friends mourn five members of a family from Muluanda village in Ingotse, Kakamega County, who died in the Kericho accident. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE 

The transport regulator is mulling changes in law to cap the age limit of commercial vehicle drivers, including those handling Passenger Service Vehicles (PSVs) and trucks.

National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) director-general Francis Meja said the move would help reduce rampant road accidents on Kenyan roads, which has so far claimed about 2, 345 lives.

“As we stand now, there is no law restricting age limit. However, this is something very strange even for us because we expected that as you mature in age, people should be more responsible.

“Now that we are aware, maybe we need to look at it afresh and say at what age should we cap it for PSV drivers, said Mr Meja.

The National Transport and Safety Authority curriculum for drivers says only people aged above 30 can operate vehicles carrying more than 33 passengers”.

Mr Meja also noted that apart from capping the age limit, PSV drivers will also be required to adhere to new body construction standards before they are allowed to operate on the roads.

The standard, referred to as KS372, will be implemented to ensure the uniformity of all passenger vehicles and as a safety measure on the roads.

The criteria that PSVs must adhere to include no luggage racks on the roofs, 400mm passenger seats, safety belts and safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

“ I’m certain that the fatalities we are seeing shows that if these buses were constructed with those standards, we would have had less deaths,” he said.

Plans by NTSA to come up with a raft of changes to tame road carnage comes barely a day after at least 55 people were killed in a horrific bus crash on the Kisumu-Muhoroni highway in western Kenya.

The bus, travelling to Kakamega from the capital Nairobi, crashed in Fort Ternan in Kericho County, with eyewitnesses putting the time of the accident at about 4am.

The 67-seater bus is said to have veered off the road while descending a steep slope.

It then hit a guard rail, rolled and plunged about 20 metres, where it landed on a rocky farm.

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