Bus fleet drivers in Kenya are the first to benefit from new road safety training through a partnership with Global Fleet Champions.
Rusinga Schools ran Kenya’s first Pledge training session on 27 August to teach its drivers about dangers including speeding, drink- and drug-driving and distraction.
The training was delivered by Safedrive Africa Foundation as part of its five-year working relationship with Rusinga Schools, and was run in partnership with Pamoja Road Safety Initiative.
During the session, Safedrive Africa Foundation recommended that the school management paint zebra crossing zones and put up two disabled car park slots.
Patricia Kariuki, Principal of Rusinga Schools, committed to implement the recommendations as a priority to promote safety within the school.
The Pledge training initiative is developed by road safety charity Brake, which oversees the Global Fleet Champions campaign, and is designed for fleet managers, driver trainers and anyone with responsibility for at-work drivers.
School bus drivers who have already participated have said they enjoyed it and learned a lot from the fleet training. The more awareness training drivers receive, the safer the roads are for vulnerable road users and children at most in our community.
The course covers six key areas: speed; alcohol and drug use; seat belt use; distraction; stress, fatigue and impaired vision; and sustainability.
Delegates are also taught what employers should be doing to manage their risk, and how they can educate and engage drivers with road safety messages.
Safedrive Africa Foundation and Pamoja Road Safety Initiative are the first organisations in Africa to partner with Global Fleet Champions to offer Pledge training in Kenya.
Every day 3,700 people are killed in road crashes and many more suffer serious injuries. Traffic injuries are now the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29.
The current United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety has helped slow the increase in road deaths, despite growth in population and motorisation. However, the number of people dying or being seriously injured in collisions is still rising in far too many countries.
Road deaths and serious injuries are not just unfortunate accidents. They are predictable, preventable, and unacceptable. Evidence shows that setting a road safety target is an effective way to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured in traffic crashes.
The risk of dying in a road crash remains much higher for low-income countries than high-income countries. In Kenya, the rate of road traffic deaths far exceeds the global rate and is higher than the average for Africa.
In 2016, Kenya’s road traffic fatality rate stood at 27.8 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with a global rate of 18.2 deaths per 100,000 people, and the African average of 26.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
The World Health Organization estimates that 13,463 Kenyans died in crashes on the country’s roads in 2016 – more than four times higher than the government’s figure of 2,965 deaths in the same year.
Nearly a third of road deaths are thought to be passengers, many of whom are killed in unsafe forms of public transportation.
Isaac Mutashi, Global Road Safety Ambassador at Safedrive Africa Foundation, said: “Road deaths caused by passenger vehicles are a global catastrophe. These deaths can also be stopped by organisations like Rusinga Schools that champion road safety in our communities and transport students taking responsibility for safety and saying that they will put safety first to save lives. We are delighted to work with Rusinga Schools who have demonstrated leadership in fleet safety and environmental friendly.”
Lucas Munene, team leader at Pamoja Road Safety Initiative, said: “Work-related road risk remains the joint responsibility of the employer and employee. Both should be proactive and take risk management approach in order to comply with their legal duties and ensure their own safety on the road and that of the students and other road users around them.”
Stephen Muoge, Rusinga Schools Fleet Manager, said: “The right attitude to road safety means more efficient transport, less pollution and, most importantly, fewer crashes. We’re really pleased to see the high demand for safe driving. It’s not that surprising to us as school bus drivers who have already participated have said they enjoyed it and learned a lot from the fleet training. The more awareness training drivers receive, the safer the roads are for vulnerable road users and children at most in our community. We all have to learn to share the road safely with other road users. Our drivers are our foremost road safety ambassadors on the road and we take safety for our children very seriously. This campaign will be a celebration of this commitment to act.
Patricia Kariuki, Principal, Rusinga Schools, said: “We enjoy a very positive track record and widespread respect as responsible road users especially for school children and we are delighted to have found the support of Safedrive Africa Foundation since the year 2012 and notably, The Global Alliance Advocates, the global fleet champions, with whom we are embarking on this campaign to support sustainable development goal (SDG No.3.6: By 2030, halve the proportion of vehicles travelling over the posted speed limit and achieve a reduction in speed-related injuries and fatalities).
“Rusinga Schools believes that road safety should be a top priority for everyone, especially drivers who are being called to drive responsibly and protect more children and vulnerable road users.”
Mrs Njagi Wairimu, Vice chair of the Board, Rusinga school, said: “We are proud to have maintained safety initiatives to save lives and believe this is due to continued fleet training and road awareness campaigns of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 that was officially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in March 2010. Its goal is to stabilize and reduce the forecast level of road traffic deaths around the world.”