Determinants of severity of road accidents involving buses along Kenyan roads: a case of Nairobi - Kisumu highway, Kenya
This study sought to analyze severity of road accidents occurring along Nairobi – Kisumu highway involving buses. It took particular interest in the main causes of accident and relationship between the severity of the road accident to the occupants and speeding, drunk-driving, seat belt use and incorporation of roll over protection bars in the vehicle body structure. The Government of Kenya through the previously known Ministry of Transport has implemented structures to enforce traffic rules aimed at reducing the road traffic accidents. The ministry introduced speed governors installation on all public service vehicles and enforced it by ensuring that road traffic police were patrolling and checking compliance randomly all over the country. All drivers including personal car drivers were required not to drink and drive. To curb this, the ministry introduced alcohol blow gadgets aimed at enforcing the drunk-driving regulations. The traffic police set barriers randomly all over the country to ensure compliance. Those found drunk were fined heavily and this made drivers to comply with the regulation. The ministry also introduced use of seat belt in all public service vehicles (PSV) by ensuring that the vehicles were fitted with functional belts and regular checks by police which led to compliance. The ministry however, has not made installation of roll over protection bars in the PSV a requirement. This study involved an in-depth literature review on similar or related cases on factors that affect the severity of an accident which includes speed, drunk-driving, seat belts use, inclusion of roll over protection bars in the bus body structure. Each objective was researched on and results examined on their effects on the severity of the road traffic accident. An ex-post facto research design was adopted and research survey method incorporated to gather data from various stakeholders. An open ended questionnaire approach was used to gather data. To enhance validity of the instrument, a pre-test study was carried out and results analyzed so as to ensure that the true phenomenon under study was captured. The questionnaires were also subjected to test whereby triangulation method was conducted to check on research instrument reliability. Data was collected from the Insurance Company’s assessors who insure public service vehicles and bus body builders. Secondary data was gathered from books, websites, among other relevant sources. An inferential analysis was utilized to establish present relationships between the independent variables and the dependent variable. Karl Pearson’s measure of relationship, measure of dispersion such as standard deviation and measure of asymmetry was utilized for analysis. The data findings were then presented in frequency and correlation tables. Researcher found that speed and availability of roll over protection bars were the major determinants of road accident severity. It was also noted that most passengers do not fasten their seat belts while travelling in a bus and few bus crews encourage them to fasten the belts. The few buses installed with roll over protection bars recorded very few fatalities compared to the buses without roll over protection bars. There is insufficient data recorded and documented in regard to alcohol abuse by drivers involved in road accidents. The researcher recommended that all buses to be fitted with roll over protection bars, government to enforce use of tamper proof speed governors, police to enforce use of seat belts and Breathalyzer to be reinstated in the Kenya roads. Police and doctors to record and document the blood alcohol concentration levels in all drivers who are involved in road traffic accidents.