The number of accidents on Kenyan roads rose 24.2 percent to 8,919 in 2020 even as the government put restrictions such as curfews and a ban on inter-county movements to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Economic Survey 2021 released Thursday revealed that accidents increased in 2020 even as Kenyans were working from home and moving less during night curfews.
The report said that fatalities from road accidents increased by 10.8 percent from 3,586 in 2019 to 3,975 in 2020.
"Similarly, the number of persons that were seriously injured increased by 15.5 percent to 8,026 while the number of persons that were slightly injured dropped by 4.6 percent to 4,969 in the review period," the report said.
The rise could suggest that during the public health emergency and curbs such as curfews to limit the spread, people's behaviour and driving patterns changed significantly.
Drivers who stayed on the roads engaged in risky behaviour such as speeding and drunk driving which made the roads deadly. Road users especially rushed to beat curfew in major urban centres, which could have resulted in accidents.
“Drivers involved in road accidents increased by 20.0 percent to 1,753 while those seriously injured increased by 26.6 percent to 824 in 2020,” the Agency said.
However, vehicle passenger casualties reduced by 21.0 percent to 5,670 because of working from home policy in some companies and government offices, as well as public service vehicles' reduced capacity.
The survey also indicated that pedestrian casualties increased by 8.0 percent from 2,950 in 2019 to 3,186 in 2020 in the review period.
People seriously injured increased by 17.3 percent to 1,498 and accounted for 47.0 percent of all pedestrian casualties.
The situation was grimmer for motorcyclists and pillion passengers. In the review period, pillion passenger casualties increased by 48.2 percent to 2,332 in 2020.