President Ruto’s Cabinet has approved the establishment of the Kenya Transport Accident Investigation Bureau (KTAIB) to create reforms related to transport accident investigations.
The bureau will spearhead investigations on road, rail, pipeline, and marine transport accidents, taking the lead from entities like the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and the National Police Service, who have acted as regulators and investigators.
“It will be an independent agency tasked with comprehensive transport-related accident investigations and the making of safety recommendations,” read the statement by Cabinet.
Cabinet further noted that when transport regulators handle transport safety investigations, there emerges a conflict of interest which may hinder independent reporting, making the credibility of the investigations questionable.
A scene of an accident involving two a bus and a 14 seater matatu on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
To establish the bureau, the Ministry of Transport, currently headed by CS Kipchumba Murkomen, will lead industry stakeholders in preparing the Kenya Transport Accident Investigation Bureau Bill, 2023.
This will lay the groundwork for the legal framework to actualize the policy intervention.
“Once established, the Bureau will utilize international best practices and will pursue safety interventions in … transport,” read the statement partly.
The bureau will immediately seek to improve the maritime sector, where most accidents involving small vessels usually go unreported. Conversely, the Kenya Railways Corporation, handling safety issues in rail transport, will hand over the duties to the bureau.
However, the directive by Cabinet noted that the bureau’s mandate will not extend to aircraft-related accidents, whose investigation is handled under the Civil Aviation Act, 2013, to comply with international best practices and Kenya’s international obligations.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Department is mandated with investigating air accidents.
Meanwhile, statistics by NTSA indicate that in the first half of this year, 2,124 people died in road accidents.
According to a 2023 economic survey, 4,690 people perished in road accident fatalities in 2022.
NTSA, in June this year, started retesting all Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) and commercial vehicle drivers to mitigate fatal road accidents. However, Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen suspended the retesting of PSVs until early 2024 to allow his ministry to engage stakeholders on the way forward.
Nonetheless, retesting is to be done every three years before a driver can renew their license.
Accident scene along Southern Bypass (left) and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen.