Traffic Act: What Kenyan Drivers Need to Know

Matatu training institutions

The transport industry is arguably one of the best urban employers in Kenya. While being a driver may seem like an easy way out, with just some experience in driving some documents, its intricacies are equally demanding.

There is more to making a few rounds to town and back and pocketing some good money. Just like any other profession, one has to comply with the law requirements, in particular, the Traffic Act in this sector, that ensures safety, and proper governance of this sector by the state.

As a driver, you must uphold the most basic requirements set by the laws to ensure a smooth operation in your line of business. Here are some of the basics that every Kenyan driver should bear in mind and adhere to.

1.Vehicles license

As a driver, you might want to have your vehicle licensed by an application to the licensing officer in the prescribed form accompanied by the fee payable and the vehicle registration book. Your vehicle must be insured against third party risks in accordance with the provisions of the Insurance (Motor Vehicles Third Party Risks) Act.

Suppose your vehicle license is lost, defaced, mutilated or rendered illegible, you should get a duplicate licence on payment of the prescribed fee. Failure to which one faces Ksh 1000 fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months on first conviction.

2. Drivers License. 

The law provides that any person driving a motor vehicle shall have a valid driving license or a provisional licence endorsed in respect of that class of vehicle. A person shall be entitled to more than one driving license, but a driving license may be endorsed to permit the holder to drive one or more classes of motor vehicles.

On is required to carry his driving license or provisional license, and on being so required by a police officer, produce it for examination. Failure to which one will be fined Ksh 1000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months on a first conviction.

3. Driving hours

If you are looking to drive a public service vehicle or a commercial vehicle, the law limits it to not more than a total of eight hours in any period of twenty-four hours. Any person who contravenes or fails to comply shall be guilty of an offense and liable on the first conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh 5000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months

4. Traffic signs and signals

The driver of a vehicle shall at all times; obey any directions given, whether verbally or by signal, by a
a police officer in uniform, in the execution of his duty, conform to the indications given by any traffic sign and stop his vehicle on being so required by a police officer in uniform.

Failure to comply with these provisions one shall be guilty of an offense and liable on a first conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh 1000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.

5. Uniform

For those looking to penetrate into the matatu industry the law provides that every driver and every conductor of public service shall wear a special badge and uniform. The uniform, shall in the case of a driver be navy blue in color and in the case of a conductor be maroon in color. These badges will be provided by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles upon payment of a prescribed fee.

6. Use of Designated parking spaces

If you are looking to pack your vehicle in town, you should be willing to part with some few bucks. Payments for parking in designated spaces shall be remitted to the local authority in respect to the type of vehicle left in a designated parking place as per the charges calculated by the local prescribed in their bylaws.

Any person who, being the driver of a vehicle, in any parking bay or parking area happens to leave the vehicle for a period in excess of the time prescribed by any traffic sign relating to that bay or area shall be penalized.

7. Driving under the influence of alcohol.

Drinking and driving is gross misconduct in the traffic act. Any 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 shall be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not exceeding Ksh 10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months or to both.

8. Careless Driving

While you might think that no one is watching, you better not get caught. Any person who drives a motor vehicle on a road without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road shall be guilty of an offense and liable for a first offense to a fine not exceeding Ksh 5000, and for a second or subsequent offence to a fine not exceeding the same amount or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months

9. Deaths caused by driving a motor vehicle

Any person who causes the death of another by driving a motor vehicle on a road recklessly or at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to the public, or by leaving any vehicle on a road in such a position or manner or in such a condition as to be dangerous to the public, shall be guilty of a serious offence.

The person shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and the court shall cancel any driving license or provisional driving license held by the offender and declaring the offender disqualified for holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of three years starting from the date of conviction.

10. Duty to stop and report

The safety of other road users is in your hands as well. In the event, an accident occurs whereby injury or damage is caused to any person, vehicle, the driver of the motor vehicle shall stop and give his name and address, and also the name and address of the owner and the identification marks of the vehicle to the relevant authority that shows up at the scene.

11. Condition of vehicle

You cannot be making rounds in and out of town, with the seats of your vehicle torn and without seatbelts, your side mirror broken, your headlights crushed, the vehicle missing a first Aid Kit and the paint on your vehicle completely peeled off.

The law requires that no vehicle shall be used on a road unless such vehicle and all parts and equipment including lights and tyres, comply with these requirements. Meaning that all parts and equipment shall at all times be maintained in such a condition that the driving of the vehicle is not likely to be a danger to other users of the road or to persons traveling on the vehicle.