Inspection unit

The Unit is a technical arm of Police Department mandated with the responsibility to ensure that vehicles operating on our roads comply with specifications outlined in the Traffic Act in relation to body design construction and use regulations.

Functions of Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit

The Unit functions are as follows:

  • Initial inspection. To determine status of commercial goods and public service vehicles before registration.
  • Routine or periodical inspection: Annual/Half yearly inspection to gauge road worthiness of commercial goods and public service vehicles and ensure compliance with Traffic Act Cap 403 Laws of Kenya and Subsidiary rules there ‐
  • Random traffic check inspection :‐ To check compliance of all categories of motor vehicles to the Traffic Act Cap 403 Laws Of
  • Special inspection:‐ To determine road worthiness of modified vehicles, as well as verification of change of class and vehicle details e.g. engine change.
  • Re‐inspection:‐ To be done after failed initial /routine/periodical/random inspection.
  • Accident inspection:‐In aid of Police Investigation to determine pre‐accident status of vehicles involved in road traffic accident and for motor vehicle inspection report analysis in addition to defending the report in a court of
  • The unit also works very closely with other government Ministries, Departments, agencies and other stakeholders namely:‐ NEMA, KEBS, UNEP t.c

NOTE:‐ In order to discharge the above functions, the motor vehicle Inspector must be gazetted on appointment by the Minister of Transport as stipulated under Section 3(3)(b) of the Traffic Act.


Why Vehicle Inspection?

A motor vehicle like any other mechanical machine consists of numerous moving components which wear out gradually in spite of the quality of lubricant applied. The general performance of the vehicle will then begin to deteriorate if the worn out parts or components are not replaced or attended to as may be necessary e.g. worn out piston rings will cause the engine to lose compression, resulting to emission of excessive smoke due to incomplete burning process of fuel in the engine. The engine will also generate less power than designed to propel the vehicle under all road conditions in addition to the high fuel consumption. It is therefore the responsibility of the vehicle owner or person in‐charge of fleet maintenance to ensure that repairs are done as may be necessary and regular maintenance service program put in place. The repairs should be done by competent technical personnel in a reputable garage with appropriate tools and equipments to prolong the life span of the vehicle. Remember that what is cheap initially may cost you very dearly in the long run.

Requirements for inspection

  1. Valid booking receipt from K.R.A. to confirm payment of inspection fee (K.shs.1000)
  2. Original vehicle log book (or certified copy)
  3. Vehicle to be inspected

Refusal to inspect

The examiner can refuse to test vehicle for any of the four reasons:‐

  • If it is dirty
  • Has insufficient fuel or lubricants to allow safe driving
  • Has insecure load (on roof rack)
  • The Log Book is not available or physical details differ substantially with particulars in Log Book

A vehicle is issued with road worthiness certificate and windscreen sticker if certified to be compliant.


National Transport and Safety Authority is a state corporation under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. It was established through an Act of Parliament; Act Number 33 of 2012.

Objectives of NTSA

  • Harmonize the operations of the key road transport departments which were previously handled by various government
  • Effectively manage the road transport
  • Minimize loss of lives through road crashes.

Mandate of NTSA

  • To advise and make recommendations on matters relating to road transport and
  • To implement policies relating to road transport and safety
  • To plan, manage and regulate the road transport sector in accordance with the provisions of the Act no. 33, 2012
  • To ensure the provision of safe, reliable and efficient road transport


NTSA is committed to upholding the following core functions as the guide to its Service Delivery:

  • Registration and licensing of motor vehicles
  • Conducting motor vehicle inspections and certification
  • Regulating the public service vehicle(PSVs)
  • Advising the Government on national policy with regard to road transport system
  • Developing and implementing road safety strategies
  • Facilitating the education of the members of the public on road safety
  • Conducting research and audits on road safety
  • Compiling inspection reports relating to traffic accidents
  • Establishing systems and procedures for and oversee the training, testing and licensing of drivers
  • Formulating and reviewing the curriculum of driving schools
  • Co-coordinating the activities of persons and organizations dealing in matters relating to road safety



Since so much of transport takes place on an international scale there is a great need for organizations to provide a common framework of conventions that all nations can agree to observe. Such bodies have been established and set rules and regulations that all countries are expected to abide by. These regulations cover matters such as safety standards, compensation levels, crew hours and requirements for the carriage of certain special types of cargo such as dangerous goods and perishable foodstuffs. Generally these are inter-governmental bodies and, as such, do not have legislative, executive or judiciary powers but provide the machinery for governments to cooperate and exchange information.


  1. The International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The IMO is a specialized agency of the UN and serves as a consultative and advisory body on maritime matters. Established in 1948 to improve safety at sea its role was later extended to include the prevention of maritime pollution. The main conventions agreed by IMO are:

  • Safety of life at sea (SOLAS)
  • Load line rules
  • Anti-collision regulations
  • Standards of training and watch keeping
  • Marine pollution from ships (MARPOL)

IMO is empowered to call international diplomatic conferences at which proposals are put before member states for discussion. These proposals usually come into force when they have been signed-up to by a certain minimum number of states with a qualifying minimum registered tonnage.

IMO seeks to establish the highest practicable standards of safety but, recognizes that standards that require the most advanced technology cannot be attained by many of the world’s fleets within a reasonable timescale are useless, the standards tend to be set at a level that can be attained by all fleets. IMO has neither the means nor the power to enforce standards and relies on national governments to adopt the standards into their own legislation

  1. The International Civil Aviation Organization

ICAO was established in 1947 to standardize safety and other aspects of quality regulation on a world-wide basis. Its objectives are:

  • To ensure the safe and orderly growth of air transport throughout the world
  • To encourage the development of airports and navigation facilities
  • To reduce wasteful competition
  • To ensure that all nations have a fair opportunity to operate international airlines
  • To avoid discrimination between contracting nations

ICAO had its roots in a conference at Chicago, USA in 1944 which attempted to achieve a multilateral solution to the questions of who could fly where and at what price. Two landmark agreements were produced:

  1. The International Air Services Transit Agreement, providing for aircraft to fly over or land for technical (non-trade) reasons in the territory of any other country party to the agreement
  2. The International Air Transport Agreement, which made more comprehensive provision for the carriage of goods and people between countries.

These two agreements formed the basis of the so-called “five freedoms of the air”.

In the same way as IMO, ICAO establishes standards and specifications, which its member states may sign up to but it has no power to enforce their adoption or observance. As with IMO it is left to individual nations to decide whether to accept these standards into national law.

  1. The Economic Commission for Europe

The ECE is a commission of the UN that produces international agreements for the whole of Europe (not just the EU) and there are similar Commissions in other parts of the world. As with IMO and ICAO, these agreements are not binding and have to be incorporated into national law to give them effect in any particular country. Some of the major conventions relating to freight transport are:

  • The International Agreement on the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR)
  • The International Agreement on the Transport of Perishable Foodstuffs (ATP)
  • The International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR)
  • The Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods by Road (TIR)
  • The European Agreement Concerning the Hours of Work by Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR)

The International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road

The International Agreement on the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road

(ADR), which came into force in 1968, was established to control the international movement of dangerous goods. It was set up under the auspices of the UN‟s ECE to provide a common set of rules for the international carriage of dangerous substances and to ensure safe and adequate packaging. The parties to the agreement undertake to permit the transport by road through their territories without hindrance, of dangerous goods, provided that they are packed, labeled and carried on vehicles complying with ADR. Vehicles and containers used for ADR must be constructed to a particular specification and certified by a national competent body; drivers must receive special training and pass an examination. Consignors must ensure that certain information about the nature of the goods and the emergency action is given to the transport company and this must be passed on to the driver. The vehicles and containers must be specially marked to indicate the type of goods carried

The International Transport of Perishable Foodstuffs

The International Agreement on the Transport of Perishable Foodstuffs (ATP) applies to both own-account and hire-or-reward operators on all surface journeys within Europe by road or rail, and sea journeys not exceeding 150 km which are preceded by road or rail legs. It does not apply to air transport or to domestic transport. The agreement provides a list of the particular foodstuffs to be carried and sets maximum permissible temperatures for the carriage of these goods. It lays down common standards for temperature controlled equipment and specifies in detail the tests that transport vehicles and containers have to undergo.

These tests involve the measurement of the efficiency of the insulating body and the adequacy of the cooling equipment. Vehicles and containers approved under ATP carry a white plate with dark blue letters on it, indicating the ATP classification of the equipment together with the expiry date of the certificate.

The International Carriage of Goods by Rail

The International Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Rail (CIM) has existed in some form since 1893 and permits the carriage of goods by rail under a common code of conditions using one document and is part of the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF).

It also covers the maritime portion of a combined transport journey providing the shipping line is listed in the convention. The convention provides for through rates under a common code of conditions and simplified documentation and payment. Intermediate handling or customs examination are not normally required during the journey.

The International Transport of Goods by Road (TIR)

Most European countries are signatories to the Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods by Road, 1959 (Transports Internationals Routiers, TIR). Under this agreement, customs-sealed vehicles or containers may travel across international frontiers with the minimum of customs formalities and without the necessity of placing bonds or deposits.

International Transport Conventions The Warsaw Convention 

The Warsaw Convention is a 1929 agreement that limits the liability of airlines in the event of accidents on international flights. This Convention applies to all international carriage of persons, luggage or goods performed by aircraft for reward. It applies equally to carriage by aircraft performed by an air transport undertaking when no payment is received. A key element of the Convention is the requirement for a consignment note with certain specified details. Provided the consignor has carried out the duties required of him by the Convention the carrier is liable for damage sustained in the event of the destruction or loss of, or of damage to, any registered luggage or any goods, if the occurrence which caused the damage took place during the carriage by air.

The Montreal Convention

This took effect on 4 November 2003 and is an important development of the Warsaw Convention. A major feature of this law is the concept of unlimited liability. The Montreal Convention introduces a two-tier system of compensation. The first tier includes strict liability up to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) (approximately US$135,000), irrespective of a carrier’s fault. The second tier is based on presumption of fault of a carrier and has no limit of liability.

The Hague Rules

This agreement, reached in 1924 and amended by the Brussels Protocol of 1968, relates to the carriage of goods by sea and describes the rights and duties of both consignor and carrier. Provision is made for compensation in the event of loss of or damage to a consignor’s goods.

The Hamburg Rules

This is a UN convention on the carriage of goods by sea dating from 1978 and covers the same areas as the Hague Rules but with certain important differences.


Many of the conventions described above depend on the use of specific documentation, without which the various provisions may not be effective. The most common document is the consignment note and there are several different sorts, according to the mode of transport. These include:

  • Air Waybill
  • Bill of Lading (for ships)
  • CMR consignment note
  • CIM consignment note

Each of these has a standard layout and multiple copies. Whilst they are all different in detail, the information to be entered is very similar.

This includes:

  • Place of departure and destination
  • Names of consignor, consignee and carrier
  • Description of the goods
  • Number of packages with identifying marks, weights and dimensions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *