Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki recently assented to new traffic law, geared towards dealing with traffic offences which account for 25 percent of accidents in the country.
The Traffic (Amendment) Act 2012 will review the registration and licensing of motor vehicles and the issuance of driving licenses. It also amends various sections of the Traffic Act which has enhanced penalties for various traffic offences.
The notable provisions in the new Traffic Act which is to take effect on December 1 include:
- The Administrative Unit of the Kenya Police Service known as the Traffic Department would be scrapped and all police officer will be mandated to enforce traffic rules and regulations.
- All motor registration number plates will be owned by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
- In light of the above, if the ownership of a vehicles changes, the registration number plates must be surrendered to the registrar of motor vehicles. Failure to comply with this rules will attract a fine not exceeding Kenya Shillings Thirty Thousand (KShs. 30,000/-) on conviction.
- An identification number plate shall become invalid if the insurance cover of a motor vehicle to which it relates expires and is not renewed within thirty (30) days from its expiry date. Owners of the offending vehicles shall be required to surrender the identification number plates to KRA in failure therefore be liable for criminal sanctions.
- All licensed motor vehicle drivers shall be required to undergone mandatory eye tests every three (3) years, and a medical practitioner’s report will need to be presented to KRA when one is applying for the renewal of the licence. Anyone who fails to comply with this requirement will be disqualified from holding a driving licence for at a period not exceeding three (3) years.
- Driving under the influence of any substance would attract a penalty of ten (10) years in jail or a minimum of Kenya Shillings Five Hundred Thousand (KShs.500,000/-) fine, or both.
- Causing death through reckless or dangerous driving shall be a gross criminal offence and on conviction, the courts will be at liberty to convict offenders to life imprisonment.
- Unauthorised driving of a public service vehicle shall attract a penalty of ten (10) years in jail or a minimum of Kenya Shillings Five Hundred Thousand (KShs. 500 000/-) in fine, or both.
- Overlapping, driving on pavements and pedestrian walkways or using petrol stations to avoid traffic shall land an offender a jail term of at least three (3) months on conviction or a fine of at least Kenya Shillings Thirty Thousand (KShs. 30 000/-), or both such imprisonment term and fine.
- In case of violation of the prescribed speed limits, on conviction, an offender shall be liable to have their licence cancelled for at least three years.
- The yearly licences have been scrapped and all licences shall be issued for a term of three (3) years.
- The Inspector General of Police shall be required to designate areas where police are allowed to erect roadblocks.
- There will be road signs erected next to traffic signs showing the prescribed speed limits.
- Passenger Service Vehicles’ (PSV) drivers and conductors would be required to wear badges and blue and maroon coloured uniforms respectively. In addition, the PSV drivers would be required to do a compulsory competence test every two (2) years.
- All Motorcycles riders shall be required to take out a third party insurance policy and must wear helmets and reflector jackets. Riders shall not be allowed to allow ferry more than one (1) passenger at a time.
It is expected that the tough penalties will deter motorists from flouting traffic rules reduce cases of road accidents.