The Zimbabwe Passengers’ Association (ZPA) has condemned public service vehicles for overloading and putting at risk lives of passengers in the event of an accident.
ZPA secretary-general Paul Makiwa told NewsDay last week commuter omnibuses were expected to carry the stipulated number of passengers to enhance public safety.
“If a car is registered to carry 15 passengers, it should carry this number only, because it is insured to carry a specific number,” he said.
“Often when accidents occur, the passengers are left uncompensated as they will not have been covered by insurance.”
Makiwa said the rate at which passengers were dying was “too high”and worrisome.
“If a car is overloaded, the tyres are likely to burst. Public service drivers should therefore be cognisant of taking caution in respect to passenger safety, because we cannot be packed like fish in a car.”
Makiwa said it was high time passengers clamoured for their rights and urged public vehicle operators to recruit qualified drivers so that passengers’ lives were not “endangered by reckless and inexperienced drivers”.
During Heroes’ Day and Defence Forces’ Day holidays, 22 people died while 250 others were injured in separate road accidents countrywide.
Two weeks ago, 20 people died and 26 others injured — five of them seriously — when a Chawasarira bus burst a front tyre while overtaking and sideswiped a haulage truck 58km outside Harare along the Harare-Bulawayo Road.
August recorded 67 road-related deaths, the highest in many years.