Govt blames accidents on speeding drivers

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Three people died on the spot yesterday while four others were seriously injured when a vehicle they were travelling in burst a tyre and veered off the road before hitting a tree at the 138km peg along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway (See story on Page 3)

BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
GOVERNMENT has blamed the increase in highway accidents to speeding, reckless drivers.

Transport minister Felix Mhona last week told NewsDay on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo that the country’s road network had improved and was not the cause of accidents, adding that road accidents were mainly caused by human error.

”There is this tendency by motorists to fail to obey traffic regulations as they drive,” Mhona said.

“We are witnessing drivers that actually use cellphones, and they chat while they are driving and fail to observe road regulations.  We are now using social media platforms to demonstrate road safety issues. The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) has also initiated school programmes to teach children road safety issues. We are also rehabilitating our roads.  The danger has been the issue of speeding, where motorists ignore speed limits.”

He said Zimbabwe was the second African country with the highest number of road accidents, following Liberia.

Transport associations have, however, been blaming the increase in accidents on the bad roads.

Zimbabwe witnessed an increase in traffic accidents during the Easter holidays last year compared to 2020, according to official statistics from police, with 231 accidents compared to 128 in 2020, and fatalities rising from 26 from eight over the same period in the prior year.

During the Easter holidays last month, TSCZ chairperson Kura Sibanda said in 2021, despite the COVID-19 lockdown and strict travel restrictions, 459 road crashes were recorded, while 37 people lost their lives and 116 were injured during the Easter holidays.

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