May 19, 2012

Speed limits

Nairobi, Kenya — The Traffic Police department has now set the maximum speed limit in the yet-to-be commissioned Thika Superhighway at 50 kilometers per hour. 
. . . 
The amendments propose to increase tenfold traffic offences fines. For example, a first conviction on reckless driving will attract a fine of Sh100,000 or imprisonment for two years or both. 
A second conviction on the same offence will attract a fine of Sh300,000 and/or imprisonment for a year or disqualification from driving for a period of two years. 
The latest cases of road carnage claimed 3 lives on Friday morning just past the Naivasha fly over. Another collision on the Maragua-Muranga road on Wednesday night also claimed 16 lives.
What works best to enforce speed limits in developing countries? It is a perfect area for RCTs studies. 

Update, from the Guardian:
Road crashes are one of the most disturbing global health problems of our time. A staggering 3,500 people die on the roads daily. Worldwide road crashes are now the No 1 cause of death and debilitating injury among young people and they disproportionately affect the poor, with nine out of 10 deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.  
. . .   
Yet, across the world, millions of schoolchildren, families, workers and farmers risk their lives on a daily basis simply by travelling on dangerous roads. A study (pdf) found that more than 120 people are killed every year on just one 53km (around 32 miles) stretch of road in the south-western Indian state of Karnataka. That is more than two deaths a kilometre each year. Thousands more suffer injuries. The scale of the carnage has a direct impact on the productive earning power of the world's poorest people.  
. . . 
Unlike other major global health epidemics, road crashes are not incurable – quite the opposite. Well-targeted engineering treatments have a proven track record. On a section of the A4128 in the UK, for example, speed reductions, improved signs and markings, intelligent road studs, traffic calming and upgraded pedestrian crossings helped cut the number of fatal and serious crashes from 19 in 2004-06 to two in 2007-09 – an 89% reduction. This type of experience needs to be shared and repeated worldwide.

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