IN what could turn out to be the bloodiest Christmas Holiday in as many years, 74 people have died while 508 others were injured in the 916 road accidents recorded between December 15 and Christmas Day.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said 10 people died on Christmas Day and most of the accidents involved foreign-registered vehicles coming into the country through the southern border posts.
“Most of the accidents which occurred on Christmas Day involved foreign-registered vehicles especially in Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South as people move from one country to another for the holiday,” Nyathi said, adding that during the same period last year 64 people died while 311 were injured in 738 accidents.
“Drivers are urged to rest when travelling long distances in order to curb fatigue,” Nyathi said.
He appealed to motorists to travel during the day as statistics have indicated that most fatal accidents occurred during the night and early morning hours.
The festive season has always recorded the worst accidents as there was a lot of movement and excitement which came with the celebrations.
By Christmas Eve, police said they had issued out over 8000 tickets to offending motorists at various roadblocks countrywide.
However, the public have dismissed the roadblocks as a façade to “milk” motorists of their hard-earned cash through bribes.
“Roadblocks are supposed to bring sanity to the highways, but if accidents are still occurring then something is very wrong,” Kwekwe resident Charles Guvheya said.
Many have also laid the blame on the poor state of the roads which were littered with gaping potholes.
Meanwhile, police in Harare said they had launched investigations to flush out suspected criminals who were offering lifts to unsuspecting passengers and later robbing them after driving into secluded spots.
Police said the suspects were using a Toyota Raum and Toyota Hiace commuter omnibuses.