Road traffic accidents in Kenya: an epidemiological appraisal

East Afr Med J. 1995 May;72(5):299-305.


A descriptive analysis of road traffic accident (RTA) and injury data in Kenya was done using routine accident reports, official statistical abstracts, published and unpublished surveys. The characteristics of injury-producing accidents examined included trends, distribution patterns, risk factors, types of vehicles involved, and road-users injured or killed. The numbers killed increased by 578%, while non-fatal casualties rose by 506% between 1962 and 1992. Fatality rate per 10,000 vehicles increased from 50.7 to 64.2, while fatality per 100,000 population ranged between 7.3 and 8.6. 66% of the accidents occurred during daytime. 60% of the reported RTAs occurred on rural roads and had a higher case fatality rate (CFR) of 16% compared to those occurring in urban areas (11%). Human factors were responsible for 85% of all causes. Vehicle-pedestrian collisions were most severe and had the highest CFR of 24%, while only 12% of injuries resulting from vehicle-vehicle accidents were fatal. Utility vehicles, 'matatus' and buses were involved in 62% of the injury producing accidents. Of all traffic fatalities reported, pedestrians comprised 42%, passengers 38%, drivers 12%, and cyclists 8%. The high pedestrian and passenger deaths imply the need to investigate the underlying risk factors, operational and policy issues involved in the transport system, and to develop and implement appropriate responsive road safety interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / economics
  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Accidents, Traffic / trends
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors