The driver of one of the two matatus that were involved in an accident that killed seven people along the Nakuru highway on Thursday was on the road for 12 hours, safety officials have revealed.
Road Safety Association of Kenya officials blamed the grisly accident in the Kikopey area on driver fatigue and negligence by the owner of a truck that had stalled on the road for more than 10 hours, before it was rammed by the two matatus.
The association chairman David Kiarie said data recovered from the vehicle's speed monitoring and tracking system showed that the driver was behind the wheel for more than the recommended 8 hours without rest.
"These accidents can be avoided if employers follow regulations and do not allow public service vehicle (PSV) drivers to be on the road beyond the recommended 8 hours. They should hire two drivers for each vehicle," said the official.
Kiarie also regretted that many people have so far perished in accidents involving stationary trucks being hit by other vehicles and said deliberate action must be taken to prevent this.
He said they have also established that the truck was partly inside the road, unlawfully.
"Had it been removed, this accident may not have happened. Both the driver and his employer were in the wrong," the official stated, noting that the truth driver had
even removed a broken down part and taken it for repair.
Kiarie, accompanied by his Speed Governors and Road Safety Association counterpart Edward Gitonga spoke when they visited the scene of the accident which left scores of passengers injured.
The road safety campaigners expressed concern over a rise in road carnage involving PSVs which had declined from late last year after the vehicles were recalled to be refitted with new tamper-proof speed limiters free of charge.
Kiarie said if the current trend continues, the road carnage may claim more lives at the end of this year. He pleaded with the government to equip police stations located along the highways with enough patrol cars so that they can get rid of vehicles stalled on the roads.
Gitonga observed that data they retrieved from their tracking system had indicated that the two matatus were moving at speeds of 72 and 70 kilometers per hour respectively, which is below the official 80 kilometers limit.
He also asked the national government to implement an earlier plan of dualling the Nairobi-Mau Summit highway to minimize accidents and frequent traffic snarl ups.
During the crash, five people perished on the spot while two others died while undergoing treatment in hospital.