On Wednesday 28 May 2019 the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai issued a circular to the Director of Traffic stating who is allowed to mount a siren and get V.I.P. clearance for use of the road in Kenya. Besides the President, Deputy President and First Lady the list also included Cabinet Secretaries for Defence, Interior and Foreign Affairs and their Principal Secretaries as well as ambulances and fire brigade vehicles Section 119, Cap 403 of the Traffic Act partly states that "every driver shall, upon hearing of any gong, bell (other than a bicycle) or siren indicating the approaching of a police vehicle, ambulance, fire engine, should at once give such vehicle right of way, and if necessary pull his or her vehicle to the side of the road".
This is a long-standing tradition that makes roads equally safe for the use of normally speeding emergency service vehicles. Why then are ambulances increasingly being involved in accidents?
Last Friday an ambulance crashed killing the driver in Kabarnet. The immediate cause of the accident was pointed out as inebriation or drunk driving.
An expert from NTSA who spoke on the condition of anonymity however attributes the increasing number of ambulance accidents to torque and driving experience.
Although GK vehicles on V.I.P. escort are allowed to have road clearance it's still criminal to drive on the wrong side of the road.
"The Toyota Land Cruiser used as ambulances have a wheel type classification of CG 207 with size 24 by 10 front and rear tires. This makes the vehicle maneuverability unstable at high speeds. Any driver whose training does not alert them to this issue is prone to be involved in an accident whenever driving at high speeds."
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