Social Justice Approach to Road Safety in Kenya: Addressing the Uneven Distribution of Road Traffic Injuries and Deaths across Population Groups

Public Health Ethics 3 (2):115-127 (2010)
Abstract
Road traffic injury and deaths (RTID) are an important public health problem in Kenya, primarily affecting uneducated and disenfranchised people from lower socioeconomic groups. Studies conducted by Kenyan experts from police reports and surveys have shown that pedestrian and driver behaviors are the most important proximal causes of crashes, signifying that the occurrence of crashes results directly from human action. However, behaviors and risk factors do not fully explain the magnitude of RTID neither does it account for socioeconomic gradient in RTID. Instead, a social justice approach to RTID highlights the need for emphasizing distal causal factors. They allow us to understand how social inequities determine risk for RTID. Hence, designing policies that focus on behaviors will simply mask the underlying systemic causes of this growing phenomenon. To eradicate the RTID and address the gradient, a broader policy framework that includes the social dimension of injury, a strong political will to address the underlying causes of RTID and an effective partnership with stakeholders needs to be developed
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