Why the rise in motoring clubs is a boon for road safety initiatives

Stephen Macharia

The automotive industry is evolving quickly. Automakers are in competition to install the newest technologies in vehicle performance, safety, fuel efficiency, and even driver assistance systems.

Many vehicle models that had trouble finding a market niche a little more than ten years ago have seen an increase in adoption in Kenya as a result of globalization.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that commercial banks and other financial organizations have made significant investments in the automotive industry by giving Kenyans loans to purchase new or used cars.

There is now a greater need for motoring communities, also known as motor clubs or car clubs, due to the increased accessibility of automobiles. Young drivers occasionally get together for entertainment events through the clubs. Some car clubs only admit members who own certain makes and models.

Others have a larger base of members and do not limit membership to the vehicle type. These clubs are becoming more significant in mobility today. Members can locate replacement components and qualified technicians for repairs through the clubs. The clubs also provide chances for social growth through interaction and networking. They offer a tremendous but underutilized benefit to the automotive industry: they serve as educational resources for drivers.

The question is, what is the role of these clubs, and the emergent trends, in promoting road safety? Motoring clubs bring together thousands of motorists. Although some of the clubs have road safety awareness programs, they are unable to make significant improvements in advocating for safe driving. Entertainment and charity events seem to take the biggest share of the time drivers spend together. What opportunities do these clubs offer for road safety campaigns?

Available data shows a rise in traffic-related fatalities and injuries this year. This is attributed to the increased movement of people and goods as the economy bounces back from the negative economic effects of COVID-19.

To advance the cause of traffic safety, we must figure out how to reach out to these clubs. Many of Kenya’s road safety campaigns have been criticized by communication experts for taking a top-down approach.

Despite the fact that this group is at risk of traffic accidents, the majority of campaigns fall short of communicating the message in a way that appeals to young drivers. The irony is that children and youth are recognized as crucial stakeholders in delivering road safety in the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021– 2030.

The plan acknowledges that young people have a significant influence on how transportation systems operate. This generation will inherit the successes or failures of the current road safety initiatives, according to the prediction. However, we frequently miss the untapped potential that motoring clubs have to spread awareness of traffic safety.

Motoring clubs have a great deal of potential to influence peer behaviour when used properly. This is due to the fact that the club’s members share a passion for driving. Road safety will significantly increase if campaigns are developed that are specifically geared toward driving communities, where drivers feel respected and involved in the agenda. People who share interests are more likely to practice self-control and abide by rules than those who may feel laws were passed without their input.

Club members typically receive a branded club sticker for their car. The stickers are placed at the front or back windscreen and are noticeable. These stickers act as club badges of loyalty and show a sense of community. Motoring clubs are practically ideal avenues for spreading messages about driving safety because of this. By simply forming subgroups for drivers who are concerned about road safety, they can achieve a new level of belonging.

The club will gain value from this rather than having its current structures torn apart. Another benefit is that some motoring clubs have systems in place to discipline or honour their members. Utilizing these systems is necessary to encourage safe driving among all participants and to reward good drivers.

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