TRANSPORT and Infrastructural Development minister Felix Mhona has revealed that government wants to set up a Road Accident Fund amid a sharp rise in road traffic accidents.

The Road Accident Fund will provide insurance cover to all road users, citizens, and foreigners, against injuries sustained or death arising from road accidents.

The cover also comes in the form of indemnity insurance to persons who cause accidents, including personal injury and death to victims of motor vehicle accidents, and their families.

Plans to set up the Road Accident Fund come after 22 people last week perished in a road traffic accident along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway when a South Africa-bound Toyota Quantum commuter omnibus collided head-on with a DAF truck, killing all the 22 people aboard the omnibus.

Police have so far identified 20 of the deceased.

The Road Accident Fund is a welcome initiative as it comes at a time when road traffic accidents have taken away breadwinners, leaving many families broken.

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Several Zimbabweans cross into South Africa and Mozambique to sell or buy goods for resale back home. This is a trade that has sustained several families as the local economy remains in intensive care. Some have met their fate on the country’s highways while others have scars after surviving the accidents.

We have heard cases of some survivors of road traffic accidents who are left nursing injuries or are incapacitated for the rest of their lives. They would have nothing else to do waiting for their maker.

The Road Accident Fund will come in handy to assist such people.

Authorities must put in place tight systems to avoid abuse of the fund by predators that pounce on any unguarded funds.

We exhort the government to move with speed and inject money into the fund. It should also invest more in preventive measures as most road traffic accidents are a result of human error.

Tough legislation will act as a deterrent measure to would-be violators of road rules. The law enforcement agencies, especially the police, must impound unroadworthy vehicles as we head towards the festive season.

They should resist the temptation of bribes which come at the expense of innocent lives.

Our roads have become highways of death with statistics showing that 41 per 100 000 people are dying in road traffic accidents yearly, according to the World of Statistics.

Zimbabwe is only better than Dominican Republic which tops the list of shame with 65 deaths per 100 000 people.

Road traffic accidents claimed 8 897 lives between 2019 and 2022, according to statistics from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency.

Last year alone, road traffic accidents claimed 2 079 lives, the agency said.