Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Keep your children safe, dammit!

School buses or vans, and PSVs, shouldn't exceed forty kilometres per hour. Vehicles use for transporting schoolchildren should abide by this rule at all times. Their designs should be standardised and those operating them should meet stricter criteria. I can undertstand, I think, the instincts of liberatarian adults to declare with finality that the right to endanger their lives is their own and that the State has no business telling them whether or not they can board a cramped fourteen-seat "Nissan" with bald wheels for a ninety-kilometres-per-hour das to Kikopey or some such place. 
 
But I cannot understand how or why parents, and the Government they purport to live under, can endanger the lives of their children, whom they claim to be the future of the nation, by allowing them to be crammed into "buses" operated by men, and quite a few women, with the driving skills of the Kayole-bound Forward Travellers deathtraps who are more interested in shortening their shifts by attempting to recreate the more exciting parts of a banzai run round the Nürburgring.
 
School transport is not safe. It almost doesn't matter that the school is a million-shillings-per-year private resort or a bare-bones "academy" somewhere in Umoja Innercore: school transport is more often than not repurposed former PSVs crewed by the non-bhang-smoking cousins of matatu crews. The ones I encounter at 5:30am as I hustle to get to work almost always have children packed in them as if they were matches full-to-bursting in matchboxes. Most of the children look miserable and most of the bus-van crews look miserable - and half asleep. The most distressing sign is that the parents are probably safe in their cut-rate ex-Dubai reconditioned Japanese shitboxes with Pioneer amps, Kenwood subwoofers and Grogan Road mufflers that drive Njoki Chege up the wall as she claims.

When disaster strikes, as it frequently does on Kenya's superhighways of death, disconsolate parents beg the Government to "do something". I have a solution: stop loading up your children n death traps. Insist that the schools to which you fork over tens of thousands of shillings every year to buy vehicles designed to ferry schoolchildren. I don't care that they will be late for shoo, insist that the maximum speed that these vehicles can attain is forty kilometres per hour, a speed that science tells me is not too fast that disasters cannot be averted by even semi-competent drivers. Insist, on the point of threatening grievous bodily injury, that the crews of school transport should meet the highest standards of competence, mental health and experience. Finally, these vehicles should only be allowed on the roads between the hours of 6:30 am and 6:30pm, when there is enough natural light.

Keep your children safe, dammit!

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