Unilever recently launched an annual road safety campaign in partnership with the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) in Kenya in an effort to impart essential road safety skills to 200 third-party logistics drivers.
Titled “Drive to Zero,” the campaign will enhance corporate social responsibility and improve road safety in Kenya. By focusing on key pillars such as driver fitness, behaviour, vehicle fitness, road risk, post-accident care, and collaboration with institutions like the NTSA, Unilever aims to promote a significant behaviour change among drivers and reduce road accidents.
According to Luck Ochieng, managing director, Unilever Kenya during the opening of the one-day workshop held in Nairobi, the campaign is linked to the manufacturer’s anchor slogan for road safety.
“We envisage zero incidences, accidents and endeavors to equip drivers with skills to enable them to be change-makers on the road as they use defensive driving skills to control their behavior on the road. This kind of partnership with national networks helps to identify and promote good practice in safety management and enhances corporate social responsibility. Today is the inaugural session for the Unilever Internal Safety Workshop and a campaign event will be conducted every year,” said Mr. Ochieng.
Speaking during the closure of the one-day workshop, NTSA Deputy Director Road Safety Strategies, Dr. Duncan Kibogong highlighted that the training which is geared towards imparting skills in drivers will go a long way in enhancing road safety.
“The choices, decisions and behavior of drivers is critical in reducing the risk of road crashes and protecting lives on the road. We encourage that such training becomes a continuous process to achieve the “Drive to Zero” campaign goals, especially with the upcoming festive season. Furthermore, the initiative aligns with the Authority’s recent nationwide “DereSmart” road safety campaign targeting all drivers,” he added.
NTSA’s efforts to improve road safety extend beyond partnerships with Unilever. The concept of shared responsibility is central to road safety management and underpins the stakeholder collaboration pillar in the National Road Safety Action Plan. The NTSA, in collaboration with various stakeholders, is currently finalizing the 2023-2027 National Road Safety Action Plan. This comprehensive plan aims to further enhance road safety in Kenya by incorporating multi-sectoral partnerships.
Education and awareness
Dr. Duncan Kibogong acknowledged the invaluable role of corporations in complementing the government’s efforts in road safety education and awareness programs.
Road traffic injuries pose a significant social, economic, developmental, and public health problem in Kenya. Approximately 4,000 people lose their lives on the country’s roads each year, with many more suffering serious injuries. The economic cost of these accidents amounts to 3 to 5% of Kenya’s GDP annually, totalling between Sh450 and Sh492 billion.
A vast majority of road traffic crashes are preventable and primarily stem from human-related factors. Violations of traffic rules, such as speeding, reckless driving, dangerous overtaking, and drunk driving, contribute to the high number of fatalities and injuries. According to Richard Bogita, the Head of Supply Chain for Unilever East Africa, safety measures and defensive driving techniques are of great importance
“This calls for safety measures and adopting defensive driving that requires drivers to always keep in mind the existence of road hazards; keep a lookout for smaller or vulnerable road users, such as cyclists or power-assisted bicycle users, and pedestrians like children and elderly, who may dash across the road,” he said.
The Unilever Internal Safety Workshop plays a crucial role in promoting road safety within the company and beyond. It targets Unilever employees, drivers, contractors, suppliers, visitors, and members of the public. The workshop provides a platform for raising awareness and conducting case study reviews on defensive driving techniques. Expert trainers facilitate these sessions to enhance drivers’ skills and knowledge in driving defensively.