A few days ago I sat In a 8 seater matatu travelling out of town for work. I usually seat at the front next to the driver. I like seating here because I like to talk to the driver and engage them in conversations. Most of the time the conversations are really interesting and on various topics like work, work-life balance e.t.c
As we go along we were stopped by a policeman for the usual traffic check. He looks at me and the driver and notes that we are wearing seat belts. He walks around the matatu and sees that the rest aren't wearing and asks people to tie their seat belts. A few comply and some pretend to do some movement. He is then very firm and says we all must tie our belts. My neighbour does nothing. The driver then gives the policeman a 50 shilling bribe hidden in his driving licence. The policeman takes the money and returns the licence and lets us go without checking that people had complied to his directive.
We drive a short distance and people untie their belts. This is on a major highway. I realised that the policeman and the driver had already measured and ascribed a value to our lives. Ksh 50 divided by 8 passengers is 6 shillings and 25 cents. This is equivalent to one PK chewing gum pack and 25 cents. If you are in a 14 seater, then you are worth 3 shillings and 57 cents which is roughly half a PK gum. Are you really that worth? No one cares about the value of your life. If you don't take charge and be responsible and take measures to ensure road safety, no one will do it for you. For all that we know you are just 1 PK and 25 cents or half a PK to the policeman.
National Transport and Safety Authority(NTSA) recently published the 2015 statistics of road accidents. These stats show the number of deaths and injuries daily. Last year 2015 there were more deaths than 2014. The sadest part is that despite measures by NTSA to reduce road carnage, we still have preventable deaths. These are costly to our economy and many people who are productive. We can be more responsible and stop this trend. Our lives are more valuable than any money can buy.
For the first time, private cars contributed 35% of deaths that occured in 2015. This is sad news because I thought that being in private car was safer. It like a falacy. If one is careless like overtaking in a bridge, overlapping, driving too fast, not wearing a seatbelt and driving under the influence of alcohol. Its the small decisions that are important not the grand ones. Should i really overtake or wait until its clear. Overconfidence in one's driving skills and the power of your car especially during overtaking leads to headon collisions. I pray and hope that people will talk more about this and take personal initiative to change our behaviour. Don't excuse bad driving because you were left free by the cop you gave a bribe. If you don't change you will be a statistic.