Dr. Jimmy Macharia (Associate Professor of Information Systems) listens as Dr. Paul Wachana (Assistant Professor of Project Management and Implementation) provides his feedback soon after Dr. Macharia concluded his presentation at the Colloquium on Wednesday, 21 in the Dean’s Boardrooom, Freida Brown Student Center. PHOTO:DAN MUCHAI
By Carol Yogo
The School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension organized a colloquium that focused on road safety in Kenya featuring presentations from Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Simeon Sungi and Associate Professor of Information Systems Dr.. Jimmy Macharia on Wednesday, November 21 2018. Their research focused on the perspectives of the law on drunk driving and the perspectives of innovations that influence behavior of Matatu Drivers.
Dr. Sungi, who is the current Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and the High Court of Tanzania, dwelt on the effectiveness of legal sanctions in dealing with drunk drivers in Nairobi County.
Reminding his audience about the wildly contensious breathalyzer introduced to respond to road carnage and curb drink driving in Kenya, Dr. Sungi had set out to find out whether the deterrence theory - that is, that punishment effective in modifying behavior must be certain, swift and severe, had the effect of reducing drunk driving in Nairobi County. It did not happen.Dr. Sungi further explained that the Traffic Act (Cap 43) of the Laws of Kenya under section 44 (1) states that 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 one hundred thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.
According to Dr. Sungi’s research, 30% of arrested for violating the Traffic Act (Cap 43) of the Laws of Kenya were repeat offenders. Furthermore, these offenders had no difficulty paying fines, were likely to be caught again, used social media to escape a police dragnet, and finally were set free due to inept enforcement of the law.
The research findings showed that 30% of all the offenders were repeat offenders who have no difficult paying fines, are less likely to be caught, they use of social media to escape police and they poorly enforce the law.
Explaining how the deterrence theory posits that punishment effective in modifying behavior must be certain, swift and severe, Dr. Sungi concluded that these punishments were ineffective, and the government was probably better off coming up with alternative punishments such as use of rehabilitation centers since Driving under the Influence (DUI) is a public safety and health issue.
Dr. Macharia presented on a technological innovation used as a means of monitoring a vehicle and influencing driver behavior to reduce speed related to acceleration. He explained that prior research shows that the escalation of traffic road accidents can be attributed to driver fatigue, stress, perception and sleepiness among others. His research intended to shed light on such factors that contribute to traffic accidents as vehicle category, ownership, and aggressive driver behavior on the road had received little attention.
The research also involved the installation of 30 Global Positioning Systems car tracking devices in public transport vehicles. Using these devices, Dr. Macharia compared aggressive behavior on the road for drivers of personal vehicles, cab, mini-buses and heavy commercial trucks, and further analyzed driver aggressive behavior on the road using the owner - employee category of drivers.
According to Dr. Macharia’s research, among the five category of vehicle drivers under this study, minibus drivers presented the highest aggressive violations on the road. Further employee category of drivers exposed a higher level of aggressive violations on the road, while 8.5% of the time drivers drove above the speed limit.