in

Is NTSA about road safety or arresting and charging users?

During the festive season last year, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) launched a massive crackdown on private vehicles ferrying passengers to different destinations. After the New Year, everything went quiet and these vehicles returned to normal operations. What is the challenge in dealing with these vehicles?     Komen Moris, Eldoret

There has been continued crackdown on the private vehicles operating as PSVs since last year. We have always taken a multi-agency approach in handling it. We engage the police in these crackdowns. NTSA intensifies these operations during the festive season when most people travel.

Why are your officers arresting motorists in places without speed limit signs? For example, one may be driving at 100kph only to be stopped and told that the limit is 80kph.

Kipkorir, Eldoret

Our officers are always stationed at points where the speed limits have been clearly stipulated and displayed. 

Arresting of drivers for speeding has become a lucrative business for NTSA and traffic police officers. Without proof, they demand money and do not bother to show evidence of the offence in the form of printouts or camera footage — and even when one pays the “fine”, no receipt is provided. What should motorists demand when arrested for speeding?               Seth Mwangani, Nairobi

Motorists may be shown evidence of speeding on request. One must be issued with a receipt upon payment of cash bail.

Can you comment on claims that NTSA officials collude with police to manipulate speed guns in order to terrorise drivers?              Komen Morris, Eldoret

This is not true. However you can report any incident if you suspect this is happening. The gadget is regularly serviced to ensure accuracy. We are also working with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to monitor our officers during their operations.

Since NTSA always brags about the millions of shillings it has brought to the government, is the authority’s aim and objective about road safety or simply arresting motorists and charging them hefty fines?                                

John Waweru, Nairobi

John Waweru, Nairobi

John Waweru, Nairobi

John Waweru, Nairobi

John Waweru, Nairobi

The Authority’s core mandate is  road safety, not revenue collection

I was in the traffic court two weeks ago for taking a wrong right turn and was fined Sh10,000. I was shocked and disappointed to see only petty offenders in court — including speeding drivers, touts without uniform and passengers who did not fasten seat belts. I am not saying these petty offenders should not be punished, but leaving out serious offenders will not change our roads. So, where were the matatus whose drivers go over road kerbs, and drive on the wrong side of the road on Moi Avenue with the police and county askaris watching?                                         Carey J. Ndwiga, Thika 

All traffic offenders are subject to the same law and charged in line with the provisions of the Traffic Act.

Speed limits of 50kph are too low for the stretches around Cabanas, Taj Mall, Nairobi School and Muthaiga. Could you recommend increasing it to 60 or 70kph in some sections since we have better roads and vehicles?                                    Carey J. Ndwiga, Thika

Most fatalities happen as a result of speeding. The stretches you are describing have a lot of human traffic. It is safe to reduce the speed of motorists in such areas. Also plans are under way to re-engineer the roads to take into account pedestrians. This will be in form of footbridges and footpaths. It is only then that the speed limits can be reviewed.

What’s the speed limit on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway? I have been stopped several times while doing 100kph and told the limit is 80kph. Kindly mark the roads to stop harassment because many of us will comply voluntarily. The principle behind speed limit enforcement should be safety, not punishment.                                   Evans Wanyonyi

Speed limits are in place to make our roads safe and not a punishment to motorists. We are working closely with other road agencies to ensure all roads are marked and signage erected.

Most deaf people who seek driving licences after training or duty exemption for imported vehicles have in many cases had their applications rejected. The main reason given is that the law does not allow deaf people to drive — yet there is no mention of this in the Traffic Act. Please clarify.                                                    Sati,  Kisumu

Section 111 of the Act stipulates that a licensing officer shall not grant an applicant a driving licence endorsed in respect of any class of motor vehicle unless applicant:

• Makes a declaration in the prescribed form as to whether or not he is suffering from any such disease or physical disability likely to cause the driving by him of a motor vehicle, of the class or classes in respect of which the application for a licence is made, to be a source of danger to the public, he may refuse to grant such application unless the applicant;

• Produces a certificate from a medical practitioner, stating that in the opinion of such medical practitioner the application is physically fit to drive the class or classes of motor vehicle in question; and

• Undergoes and passes a driving test.

NTSA started on the right footing but it seems to be losing it. It is becoming a hotbed of corruption because its officers are taking bribes and allowing matatus to mess up. When will you come up with a transport master plan that will make matatus toe the line?

Mugambi Kariuki, Nairobi

As an authority, we do not tolerate corruption. We urge the public to report any officer who seeks a bribe to the relevant government agency. You can also report it to the Authority via the NTSA App available on Google play store. On the other hand, the public should desist from giving bribes.

On the issue of the transport master plan, extensive consultations are going on to develop policies on road transport and safety.

Hello Sir, what’s the difference between the roles and duties of NTSA officials, Traffic Police and county traffic askaris since there seems to be a duplication of roles?

Derek Liech, Kisauni, Mombasa 

Derek Liech, Kisauni, Mombasa 

We collaborate with the Traffic Police and county government officials in our enforcement initiatives.

A few months ago NTSA took action against matatus and buses with noisy music and extremely loud exhaust pipes, some even producing deafening whistling sounds. However, the loud music and the noisy exhausts are back. What measures are you taking to end this nuisance?

Alex Mbaya, Nairobi

We regularly undertake compliance checks on all PSVs. This enables us to weed out such vehicles. We encourage the public to report such cases through 0718555999 or via the NTSA App.

Mr Director-General, it has been long since we were promised Tour Service Vehicle Licences. Why don’t you take it upon yourself and separate this sector from Public Service Vehicles while retaining all the fees required?

Jimmy

NTSA has been issuing these licences to tour operators registered with the Tourism Regulatory Authority. The licence is green in colour to distinguish it from the regular PSVs.Driving on our roads at night is a nightmare due to lack of markings even on newly constructed sections. There are also no standards on bumps and side rails among other things, putting lives at risk. Who is supposed to enforce the standards on road construction and markings?

Dr Muchiri Mureithi

The responsibility is with the various road authorities. We are working closely with them to ensure all roads are marked, proper bumps erected where required and signage erected.

Why are there too many unroadworthy vehicles on our roads? 

The Authority will start inspection of all vehicles including private vehicles in line with Section 16 (2) of the Act. This will remove all unroadworthy vehicles from our roads.

Mr Meja, what does NTSA intend to do with boda bodas? They are now riding on the median strips, pavements and even on the wrong side of the road as the police just watch.

John F. Osogo, OGW

The Authority has developed the Motorcycle Regulations 2015 to guide the industry. Sensitisation of the motorcycle riders is going on. We, however, expect all riders and their passengers to follow the regulations.

I request you to clarify on two issues. First, the law which bans fitting bull bars on private pickups. Second, the law seeking such vehicles to be inspected annually — and if so required, is it not constitutionally discriminative?

John M. Mubia, Nairobi

Section 55 of the Traffic Act Cap 403 provides that no vehicle shall be used on the road unless such vehicle and all parts and equipment thereof, including lights and tyres, comply with the requirements of this Act, and such parts and equipment shall at all times be maintained in such a condition that the driving of the vehicle is not likely to be a danger to other users of the road or to persons travelling on the vehicle. The bull bar is a part that is likely to be a danger to other road users.

Section 16 (2) of the Act states that every vehicle more than four years from the recorded date of manufacture shall be subjected to inspection by the motor inspection unit. Private pickups fall in that category.

I sent an e-mail to [email protected] and [email protected] as a matter of urgency on October 11 for action to be taken against two PSV vehicles (registration number withheld) plying the Nairobi-Githurai route. The vehicles were being driven beyond 100kph and I believe their speed governors were tampered with. Unfortunately, my e-mail was not acknowledged and I have no idea whether or not action was taken.

PK Mwangi, Nairobi

We wish to apologise for failure to acknowledge your communication. We have, however, taken up the matter with the relevant Sacco.

When erecting speed bumps, does NTSA consult other agencies like the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) and Kenya Urban Roads Authority? A good example is when NTSA erected a speed bump at Nyambari in Uplands on the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway which was removed after a few days.

NTSA does not build speed bumps. In this area, the local community took it upon themselves to erect the speed bump. The matter was taken up by the relevant government road agency.

There are gangs of police officers near where the Del Monte-Kandara flyover joins the Thika superhighway who pick Sh50 from every matatu. Another group picks after Witeithie while another waits for lorries near Engen on the Thika Garisa Road. Recently another group started intercepting matatus right in the middle of the road after the Ruiru toll station. Is NTSA helpless to stop these officers or is this not their mandate?

Carey J Ndwiga, Thika 

We are working closely with EACC and other agencies to deal with cases of corruption on our roads. If you see any such cases, kindly report. You can reach us through the NTSA App.

In road safety there are other factors beyond Alcoblow and speed limits. For example, there are narrow roads like the stretch between Meru and Nanyuki, or between Kisii town and Suneka. How is NTSA addressing this issue?

We are working closely with other road agencies to ensure all roads properly designed for the safety of all road users

Why are buses belonging to parastatals subjected to acquiring PSV licences yet they do not carry passengers who pay fare? 

Buses are classified as Public Service Vehicles.

Are you aware of this open market at Kangemi on the Nairobi-Naivasha highway where the county government has allowed the traders to sell their wares right next to the road and are there plans to address this danger and inconvenience?

Seth Mwangani, Nairobi

We agree this is a real danger to the vendors and other road users. The issue is being addressed through the Nairobi County Government and Kenha with a view to relocate this market

Cost-efficient traffic and transport regulation depends on a sound road safety policy and management. What are you doing to ensure this is achieved? 

Kiluyi Emmanuel, Bungoma

The Authority has a road action plan and regulations in place. We are currently implementing the two.

A lot has been said about Probox cars that pile people and carry way beyond their capacity, especially in Narok and Kisii areas. When can we see an end to this dangerous trend?

Enock   Makori, Nyamira.

This will end the day the public stops and refuses to board these vehicle, understand the danger of using them as PSV and take responsibility for their safety. On our part we will continue to enforce the law to eliminate this illegal operators.

Pedestrians flock roads creating snarl ups. What is NTSA doing to educate them?Carey J Ndwiga, Thika 

We are working closely with road agencies to ensure all new roads take into account pedestrian walk ways. We are also sensitising the public on use of designated crossing points and footbridges. On busy roads, we have provided marshals to assist in pedestrian crossing.

There used to be a speed limit for small cars of 110kp/h in the dual carriage which was reduced to 100kp/h. When did this change and was it gazetted?

It has not been changed. However, there are different speed limits provided to guide motorist who must look out for these signages.

When NTSA was started, its core mandate was to return sanity to our roads. Though determined to achieve the core mission, your corporation is apparently entangled in corruption allegations, and bias in recruitment. There is also public outcry that NTSA is taking over the roles of the Traffic Police, creating confusion, blame game and opportunity for extortion. What is the difference between NTSA and the police and what are you doing to weed out the vices by your officers?

Martin Muia, Mombasa County

We collaborate with the Traffic Police in our enforcement initiatives. NTSA and the Traffic Police complement each other.

Where do boda boda and tuk tuk riders get their training, competence testing and licensing?

Peter Ongera, Kitengela

Tuk tuk drivers get similar training as drivers of saloon vehicles. The boda boda riders have a special training curriculum. All driving schools have the capacity to train tuk tuk drivers and boda boda riders.

There are the so-called “box” Hiace Matatu plying routes like Nakuru, Nyahururu, Molo etc. The fueling slot is near the front door on the passenger’s side. Where is the fuel tank located and is it well protected should a head-on collision occur?

Githuku Mungai

The fuel tank is well secured and is at the centre of the vehicle.

Candidates for AU Commission chairperson to take part in pre-election debate

Uhuru to tour Ukambani for two days