Road carnage can be reduced, avoided

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Holidays in Zimbabwe have always been a time of madness on the roads with tens of people losing their lives unnecessarily.

This year’s Christmas and New Year holidays, with a few days left, have not been an exception.
There are indications the death toll from road accidents would surpass those of previous festive seasons by far.

According to police statistics made available to date, the death toll stood at 76 after four more people died in accidents in different parts of the country.

Ninety-eight people died over the festive season last year while 1 090 others were injured in 1 119 accidents countrywide.

This holiday, 606 people have been injured in 844 accidents recorded nationwide Police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri said Mashonaland East Province had recorded the highest figures with 19 deaths since the festive season began.

He said 1 861 faulty vehicles had been impounded in police operations and this could just be an indication of the reasons behind the worsening carnage.

By the time you read this, it is most likely that more Zimbabweans would have lost their lives on the roads and this is why we feel obliged to raise the red flag once again.

Too many vehicles on our roads are not fit for use, especially those that ferry commuters.

One of the issues authorities have to confront, without fear or favour, is the corruption that allows these vehicles to be on the roads when they are not supposed to be.

It is now an open secret that traffic police these days are not shy to demand bribes to overlook serious criminal conduct on roads and this is causing unnecessary loss of lives.

Police say they are urging motorists “to exercise caution” and “encourage them to follow road regulations”, but we also encourage them to deal with the rot within.

The economic collapse of the past decade has also seen our roads going without repairs for too long and the impact is devastating.

Roads have become a major hazard to motorists to a point where the government needs to come up with a bold plan to arrest the rot.

Our roads have become death traps and many precious lives continue to be lost unabated.
The government needs to ensure millions of dollars raised from toll fees every year are put to better use and help reduce the bloodletting on the roads.

It’s time motorists said no to drunken driving and other vices that continue to ruin festive season celebrations.

We also call for severe sentences for those who cause loss of lives on the roads through negligent driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or without licences.

The carnage on our roads cannot be allowed to go on forever.