First Global Fleet Champions Award celebrates safe and healthy mobility in fleets

A Kenyan coach company has been presented with the first Global Fleet Champions Award for Fleet Action and Analysis at the beginning of the Fifth United Nations (UN) Global Road Safety Week.

The award was presented to EasyCoach Ltd by Pamoja Road Safety Initiative during a meeting convened by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) which was held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday 6 May 2019 to launch UN Global Road Safety Week 2019.

Global Fleet Champions Awards celebrate the best safety and sustainability standards of fleets anywhere in the world, including in low- and middle-income nations where occupational road risk management is in urgent need of promoting and encouraging. The Fleet Analysis and Action Award, sponsored by Verizon Connect, recognises organisations that have introduced strong management systems to identify and tackle the safety and environmental impact of vehicles used on their behalf.

The Fleet Analysis and Action Award was judged by members of the Global Fleet Champions standards committee. The judges commended Easy Coach Ltd for its use of fleet management information systems to deliver a safe, efficient passenger transport system. Judges also praised the company's policies and procedures that champion safe driving behaviours, making it a role model for other bus companies in Kenya and across sub-Saharan Africa.

More than 1.35 million people are killed every year in road crashes across the world and many more are seriously injured. Road crash injuries are the leading killer of young people aged 5-29 according to the latest Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 published by the World Health Organization (WHO). [1]

The risk of dying in a road crash remains much higher for low-income countries than high-income countries. In Kenya, the rate of road traffic deaths far exceeds the global rate and is higher than the average for Africa. In 2016, Kenya's road traffic fatality rate stood at 27.8 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with a global rate of 18.2 deaths per 100,000 people, and the African average of 26.6 deaths per 100,000 people. [2]

In 2016, WHO estimates that 13,463 Kenyans died in crashes on the country's roads - this figure is more than four times higher than the government's figure of 2,965 deaths in the same year. It's been estimated that nearly a third of road deaths are passengers - many of whom are killed in unsafe forms of public transportation. [3]

In recent years, crashes involving Kenya's intercity public service buses have made headlines all over the world, but it is the crash that took place at dawn at Fort Ternan in Kericho County in October 2017, where 58 people died, that has become the indisputable emblem of the horror of road crashes in Kenya.

At the awards ceremony, Pamoja Road Safety Initiative unveiled its manifesto for safer bus transport in Kenya, calling on the Government of Kenya to put safety first and reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by crashes involving buses, especially large-capacity buses with a seating capacity of 45 or more. Pamoja is calling for the introduction of thorough training and testing for all bus drivers, an action plan to address the risk of driver fatigue, and higher standards for the maintenance and condition of all large-capacity buses, including immediate adherence to the KS372 standard for vehicle body building.

The winner of the 2019 Global Fleet Champions Award for Fleet Analysis and Action is:

EasyCoach adheres to a strict customer service creed that emphasises five pillars: Safety, Security, Punctuality, Comfort and Reliability. Since it was first founded in 2003, the company has focused on employing best practice industry standards to deliver the most efficient passenger transport service. This has been achieved by investing heavily in world-class fleet management information systems (FMIS) that have had a positive effect on the environment and enhancing road safety, evidenced by significant reductions in fuel usage and insurance premiums. EasyCoach has developed a culture that champions safe driving behaviours, using its FMIS to monitor driving habits, reduce road risk and improve road safety. The system monitors unsafe driving behaviours including harsh acceleration, braking and cornering. Drivers are encouraged to adopt good driving habits and drive safely, and are incentivised with cash bonuses awarded monthly - this results in enhanced road safety, passenger comfort and service reliability. In recognition of its efforts promoting road safety and best customer care practice, EasyCoach has won numerous accolades and recognition from industry stake-holders in recent years, including the Best Bus Company Award 13 years in a row.

The presentation of the first Global Fleet Champions Award is one of a number of events taking place in Kenya during UN Global Road Safety Week 2019. Other activities include a campaign to collect blood for the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service, while raising awareness of general road safety issues facing the country. Two caravans will operate along the Machakos and Nakuru routes during the campaign.

Azym Dossa HSC, managing director at EasyCoach Ltd, said: "We are delighted and honoured to receive the Global Fleet Champions Award for Fleet Analysis and Action, which recognises our stringent road safety enhancement system. In a country where the public transport service is often associated with chaos and institutionalised disregard for order, rules and regulations, this will give us more responsibility and further motivation to continue our efforts to bring discipline, reliability and predictability to bus transport in Kenya and offer a dignified passenger service to Kenyans."

Lucas Munene, team leader at Pamoja Road Safety Initiative, said: "Work-related road risk remains the joint responsibility of the employer and employee. Both should be proactive and take risk management approach in order to comply with their legal duties and ensure their own safety on the road and that of the road users around them."

Mary Williams OBE, chief executive of Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Road deaths caused by passenger vehicles are a global catastrophe. The good news is that these deaths can be prevented through government action, through good policy that controls the management of organisations operating passenger vehicles on our roads. These deaths can also be stopped by organisations that transport passengers taking responsibility for safety and saying that they will put safety first. We are delighted to work with Pamoja Road Safety Initiative through the Global Fleet Champions programme to reward EasyCoach Ltd for putting safety first."

Simon Austin, marketing manager UK & Ireland at Verizon Connect, sponsor of the Global Fleet Champions Award for Fleet Analysis and Action, said: "The right attitude to road safety means more efficient transport, less pollution and, most importantly, fewer crashes. I support the Global Fleet Champions campaign for not only striving to promote the right attitude but also providing the support to help fleets make more informed choices.

[1] World Health Organization (2018) Global status report on road safety 2018
[2] Ibid
[3] World Health Organisation (2010) Road safety in Kenya

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