HomeEditorialsSterner measures needed to curb road carnage

Sterner measures needed to curb road carnage

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STATISTICS released by the Zimbabwe Traffic Safety Council show that there was a slight reduction in the number of people killed in road accidents over this festive period, compared to last year.

NewsDay Editorial

According to the statistics, 822 accidents have been recorded compared to last year’s 918, while the number of those injured also declined to 412 against 623 recorded last year.

As of yesterday, the holiday death toll stood at 75, while 135 were recorded over the same period last year.

Last year, 1 785 accidents were recorded during the festive season. The accidents left 147 people dead and 1 304 injured.

In 2010, 65 people died and 818 were injured in 825 accidents. Again, Harare had the highest number of accidents, recording 346.

The traffic council attributed the decrease in road carnage this festive season to massive safety awareness campaigns carried out by key stakeholders a few months ago.

Senior road officer Edward Tapfumaneyi said: “Our safety campaigns had an impact on the reduction of accidents in our roads this Xmas holiday and we want it to be ongoing exercise.”

Over the past years, Zimbabwe had registered a sharp increase in road traffic accidents, mostly during festive seasons with police attributing the huge carnage to reckless driving, poor road network and increase in traffic volumes.

But Tapfumaneyi said the main thrust of their awareness campaigns which was to discourage speeding, drunken driving, use of defective vehicles, overloading and picking up of passengers at undesignated points had borne fruits.

However, some commuters said the road carnage had declined because fewer people managed to travel to their rural homes as a result of the cash crunch affecting the financial services sector.

It is unfortunate that road safety trends in Zimbabwe have been worsening. The mean annual fatality rate from all road traffic accidents in the country is estimated at 50 deaths per 10 000 registered vehicles. The numbers of reported accidents have been showing an increasing trend. The annual economic cost of road traffic accidents is 5% of the country’s Gross National Product.

This must be reduced at all costs. There is no reason to lose life in road traffic accidents as a result of reckless driving, drunken driving or otherwise.
We call on the police to remain vigilant so as to curb traffic offences. Many breadwinners have lost their lives as a result of reckless driving on our main roads leaving the dependents to fend for themselves.

However, the reduction in traffic deaths shows that if government expands or rehabilitate its road network, traffic accidents could be reduced to almost zero. We have no reason to be content with reducing the number of deaths on the roads but to make sure that no life is lost on our roads because of bad road networks.

We noted that the reduction was attributed to intensive road campaigns and public participation in reporting errant drivers.

We believe apart from road awareness campaigns, the country should implement tough traffic regulations with stiffer penalties targeting both private and public vehicle operators.

For instance, drink driving must attract stiffer penalty and driving at night discouraged.

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