HomeEditorialsTake action to reduce road carnage

Take action to reduce road carnage

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In less than four days, the Harare-Beitbridge Road has killed 20 people, including former NewsDay news editor Mernart Mafirakurewa, through head-on collisions involving heavy vehicles.

The Harare-Beitbridge Road has become the most dangerous passageway in Zimbabwe, but the government seems unmoved.

What surprises is that despite the high number of accidents on that highway, the government chose to rehabilitate other comparatively less busy highways, widening them in the process.

It is common knowledge that one of the major causes of accidents on that road is its state — it is too narrow.

It is a miracle that heavy trucks and buses do not collide every minute on that narrow, but busy highway.

The surface of the road has become so rough [because of numerous patches] that it is a mammoth task for drivers to control their vehicles.

To make matters worse, buses and haulage trucks use that narrow road throughout the night and it is not surprising that most fatal accidents do not only involve these heavy vehicles, but occur between dusk and dawn.

While it would be foolish to assume that the highway can be transformed overnight, it is important for the government to put interim measures to curb the carnage.

This is one road where traffic police should be deployed to deal with those who love speeding endangering the lives of other road users.

It is not in doubt that speed contributes heavily to the carnage on this road. These cops should work around the clock to ensure that safe speeds are observed throughout.

Measures should be put in place to control the volume of traffic during night hours. It would be appropriate to ban certain types of vehicles from travelling on that highway during certain hours of the night.

There have been numerous reports that some drivers — especially haulage truck drivers — drive for long hours and fatigue gets the better of them and inevitably they get involved in accidents during the night.

Because of the escalating number of fatal accidents that happen on that road at night, the government should consider regulating the volume of traffic on that highway at night.

The government should also consider putting reflectors to mark the narrow lanes to assist visibility.

This is time to take decisive action and policymakers should consider such interim measures without delay.

The long-term solution is obviously making the road wider and resurfacing it to make it smoother.

Only government action can help reduce carnage on the highway.

The current lethargy displayed by the government does not help the situation at all.

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