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Those Dreadful Drivers Who Use Vegetation During Breakdown And Then Forget To Remove Rubbish Once Vehicle Is Repaired

Coastweek -- As part of closing the year, I will complete the list of what drew the ire of most drivers on the road during the course of the year, writes Teti Kamugunda.

We had in an earlier article talked about the behaviour of matatus as the one at the top of the list.

The second one on the list was broken down vehicles that were improperly marked.

The law is very clear on what is required to be done in case a vehicle breaks down. One has to put retroreflective warning triangles before and after the vehicle.

They should be placed some thirty metres before and after the vehicle when on a two-lane road.

Use of hazard flashing lights is also recommended as a way of warning other drivers especially at night or in murky weather.

It gets a bit complicated when a car breaks down on a downhill or uphill section of road.

If a vehicle breaks down on a down-hill section of road then the distance needs to be increased to at least sixty metres BEFORE the broken down vehicle as cars are likely to be travelling faster.

It would also be prudent to place both triangles before the vehicle with the other one at about a hundred metres before.

If a vehicle breaks down over the brow of a hill then the warning triangles are best placed some fifty metres before the brow then just over the brow and at least thirty metres before the broke down vehicle.

The reality is that many drivers in Kenya do not place their warning triangles properly either through ignorance or through fear that they may be stolen.

Neither is acceptable as not having the triangles laid out as required could very easily result in accidents and more likely fatal ones.

My biggest beef however is with the drivers who put out vegetation – and then forget to remove them once the vehicle is ready to move.

Because vegetation costs nothing, drivers tend to just drive away and the result is that drivers approaching the location where the vehicles had been would slow down suddenly because they were not sure of what to look out for and this could result in shunts and accidents.

The third on the list was a mainly urban or built up area issue.

That is the bullying of motorists by pedestrians.

The populace in urban centres us increasing so the pressure on roads is also increasing.

Most of our roads do not have pedestrian infrastructure and if they exist most are not fit for purpose.

The flip side is also a problem.

Most pedestrians do not know what is expected of them when they use the road.

In the early days, school children were taught how to cross roads and also where to cross.

They were also taught about their responsi-bilities (and rights) as road users.

They thus grew up knowing to cross at zebra crossings or light controlled areas especially in urban areas.

Where such luxuries did not exist, they knew the rote of crossing the road – look right, look left and then look right again; if there is no vehicle approaching then cross the road but keep looking to ensure that one is still safe.

A lot of pedestrians these days only look one way and then start crossing and when they get to the centre of the road then they look the other way to check whether there are vehicles coming.

They are already in the middle of the road and at the mercy of drivers.

These pedestrians put their lives in danger and just add to the complication of driving.

It is necessary to reintroduce road safety as a compulsory subject in the first three years of primary school so that children are able to understand their responsibility with respect to road crossing and start to develop the right habits as pedestrians.

We should also be bullish and create adult education classes for those who never had or will not have the opportunity of learning road safety in school.

This would result in a large percentage of the population knowing what to do and they can also act as deterrents to the few who would then be the danger by not having been educated in road safety.

The fourth on the list is animals on the road – cats, dogs, cows, donkeys, camels, goats and sheep.

This list covers the majority of the domesticated animal population.

There are other variants but this by and large covers what we get into close proximity with as road users.

The biggest beef most of my friends had with animals is those that one comes across in urban areas.

The bylaws in all towns in Kenya prohibit the keeping of any kind of animal – pet or any domesticated – without a valid license.

The conditions of the license are such that anyone allowing the licensed animal to misbehave or become a public nuisance is liable to punishment of one kind or another.

Mostly it is fines but persistent offenders could have their animals confiscated. Serial offenders could face time in jail as well.

The problem we face currently in Kenya and is what contributed to such a high rating for this issue on the list is that there is very little enforcement of the requirement.

Most of the people I have spoken to who own pets know of the requirement but simply ignore compliance as they quite rightly say that no one has ever been prosecuted or fined under these provisions for at least the last twenty years.

If there has been any punitive action taken, then it has been because of an irate neighbour.

A lot of us do not even bother to complain because the enforcement agency employees are likely to laugh at the complainant.

It is also not clear how to lodge a complaint about the rural livestock that now comes to town regularly whether it is the dry season or not (and the reason they do is a story of another day).

As it stands, for drivers, anarchy has been let loose on the roads and no one seems to care about the consequences of such behaviour.

Concerned drivers need to take action in the New Year.

By simply posting regularly (let us try daily!) on the pages of the bosses of the relevant organisations, we could start a good groundswell to pressure for action against transgression of our road sanity.

So please post your beefs daily to the social media pages of the Inspector General of Police, the National Transport Safety Authority, The Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, the various Roads Authorities and all the County Governors.

We should also not forget the various oversight bodies that are supposed to check the operations of those mentioned above such as the Ombudsman.

Happy New Year to all our readers and please let us know what your resolutions as road users are!

As Kachumbari says, if there are enough angry posts then we will definitely see some positive movement towards enforcement of compliance to the law.

             

 

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