Kenya changes driver's manual in a race to bring traffic accidents to a halt

Traffic crashes claim 3,000 people annually, with 80 per cent of the accidents blamed on human error.

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The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has announced it will be introducing various specialities in handling motorised equipment ranging from motor cycles, light vehicles to heavy trucks to passenger service vehicles.

“Specialisation will be achieved as each applicant for a driving licence will specialise in his area of interest. A motor cyclist will undergo separate training from a light vehicle driver,” said NTSA in a statement.

The authority said it had been forced to re-design the curriculum with stakeholders’ input  to try and address the high number of fatalities on Kenyan roads.

“Traffic crashes claim 3,000 people annually, with 80 per cent of the accidents blamed on human error. It calls for provision of sufficient education and skills to all drivers that behove them to follow rules and regulations as a matter of priority,”  NTSA said.

The new manual is expected to be released and become operational in October.

Unlike in the past when trainees attended theoretical and practical lessons at local driving schools later followed by a one-off test at the local motor vehicle testing unit, once the new manual becomes operational, trainees will have to sit for examinations, thereby locking out illiterate drivers.

Illiterate drivers tend to increase traffic accidents since they cannot correctly read and understand road signs.

Among the units to be covered in the new curriculum include vehicle construction and control, self-inspection of vehicles, vehicle control or manoeuvre yard, communication on the road, space management, adverse driving conditions, emergency procedures and customer care.

New categories have also been introduced among them, Motorcycle Rider’s, Light Vehicle, Professional Light Vehicle, Public Service Vehicle, Commercial Motorcycle and the Three Wheeled Vehicle, Truck Drivers, Special Professional drivers (SPDL) as well as the Industrial Construction and Agricultural Machine Operators ( ICA).

New handbooks, among them the Highway Code, learners’ handbooks for light and professional drivers, truck drivers and motor cycle riders will also be mandatory and used at all driving schools.

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