My slight beef with the New Traffic (Ammendment) bill

Dec 05, 2012 2 Comments by

Sanity must be restored. At all costs
[img c/o Reuters]

Absolute insanity on Kenyan roads. Granted.

Matatu drivers over-lapping even when there is no traffic jam on the road. Madness. Granted.

Someone needed to act. And act we did. Granted. The 5-page “Traffic (Ammendment) Bill, 2012” was passed. The main reason was:


The objective of this Bill is to amend the Traffic Act (Cap.403) to vest ownership of motor identification plates on the Kenya Revenue Authority, and to require surrender of the plates to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles once a motor vehicle is transferred from one person to another.

The Bill further seeks to enhance the penalties for various traffic offences in order to deter commission of those offences and consequently minimise loss of lives on Kenyan roads through accidents.

The Bill also seeks to abolish the Traffic Police Department in order to vest enforcement of traffic laws and regulations on all police officers.

The enactment of this Bill will not occasion additional expenditure of public funds.

Dated the 21st November, 2011.


Member of Parliament.

Which is in good faith. Sanity MUST be restored. I repeat. In the last 4 days ago, the new laws have netted over KSHS 10M in fines and penalties. Ofcourse, these are the ‘official’ figures, but I am happy to hear that the money is actually accounted for.

So, what is the problem, Salim?

The most severe of the amendments were:

Amendment of section 44 of Cap. 403.

4. The principal Act is amended in section 44 by deleting subsection (1) and substituting therefor the following new subsection—

(1) A person who, when driving or attempting to drive, or when in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, is under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle, commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand shillings, or both.”

A few questions arise:

  • What is the definition of “having proper control of the vehicle” ? Who defines this?
  • People have different alcohol tolerance. Will we see The Police using breathalizers? What is the upper cap?
Well, I don’t drink. So this is not really an issue.

Insertion of new section 45A in Cap. 403.

 6. The principal Act is amended by inserting the following new section immediately after section 44—

 Driving on pavements, etc.

45A. (1) No motor vehicle shall, in order to avoid a build up of traffic on a road, be driven on, or through, a pavement, a pedestrian walkway or a petrol station, as the case may be.

 (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term not less than three months, or to a fine of not less than thirty thousand shillings, or to both.

Pedestrian walk. Sawa. pavement, sawa. But the Petrol station is really an issue.

Last week, my left front tyre had low pressure and so I drove through Shell, Junction and the watchman told me the AirPump was not working. So I drove on to the exit. A policeman appears and stops me. “Why have you passed through a petrol station without fueling”, he asked violently, “Do you know the new rules, Kijana!!?”.

It took the intervention of the Watchman and my semi-flat tyre to add meat the explanation that the Policeman had refused to buy. I was to be jailed for 3 months, pay 30, 000 or both.

Now, a few questions:

  • Who defines the waiting period in such a situation? Do I park at the petrol station for 10 mins then drive on?
  • When arrested, where is “evidence”? Is it my word against the Cop’s word?

We have talked about Video feeds on our roads etc. Without these, I see alot of drivers as victims. A tyre off the ‘yellow line’ and you will get arrested and reported. Because your car has been towed, you can’t prove contrary to the accusation.

Is this a concern? Am I being paranoid?

Tafakari Hayo.

Back to documentation.




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