The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) says it has made adequate preparations to curb road carnages ahead of the oncoming festive season.
TSCZ Spokesperson, Lucia Kuwandira told Review & Mail in an interview at the weekend that the council would soon launch a media campaign to improve road safety awareness among both motorists and pedestrians.
“We are very prepared for the eventuality of road carnages during the festival season hence we are going to conduct a media campaign beginning 15 December to 15 January with a physical campaign along all major roads so as to conscientise road users to drive safely.”
She said the TSCZ would engage the services of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in its bid to ensure that their mandate of promoting road safety is was achieved.
“The Council shall work closely with the police in enforcing road safety on our roads whilst at the same time advising drivers to desist from bad road practices which are usually to blame for most road accidents.”
Passengers Association of Zimbabwe President (PAZ), Tafadzwa Goliati, said his association would also work closely with law enforcement agents in maintaining road presence, which he said was crucial in discouraging traffic offenders.
“As PAZ, we are going to be active during this festive season as we shall work together with all stakeholders such as the police and the TSCZ in maintaining order on the roads so that passengers’ welfare is safeguarded.”
He said public transport owners should make sure their vehicles were roadworthy to minimise road traffic accidents.
“We are calling upon transport owners and operators to ensure the roadworthiness of their vehicles. They should be fully serviced and their workers should be properly rested to prevent fatigue that normally results in carnages. Speeding is discouraged as we are lobbying for safety; it is better to arrive safely than never.”
He also urged passengers to play their part in ensuring their safety on the roads saying road safety was a collective effort by all.
“Passengers should desist from using mushikashikas or unregistered vehicles since there are many cases of trafficking nowadays. Furthermore, they should cooperate with law enforcers in reporting traffic offenders. Where they have encountered accidents along their routes, passengers should help and not engage in criminal activities such as stealing road accident victims’ belongings.”
The festive season in Zimbabwe has been characterised by road carnages with most of the road traffic accidents occurring on highways as a result of speeding, inattention, misjudgement and recklessness.
Zimbabwe has the highest road crash mortality rate among its neighbours — 35 per 100 000. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Road Safety Report of 2018, Botswana has the lowest road crash mortality rate of 23 per 100 000, followed by South Africa 25,9, Namibia 30 and Malawi 31.
The report also notes that Zimbabwe records an estimated 665 deaths and over 10 000 injuries per year due to road traffic accidents, with the Chivhu, Plumtree and Rusape highways having the worst mortality rates. A road accident occurs every 15 minutes in Zimbabwe and this represents a 35 percent increase in 10 years.
Last year, at least 77 people were killed in 1,295 road traffic accidents countrywide between December 15 and December 27.
Drivers and passengers of the bus category account for 50 percent of the total fatalities recorded in 2017, followed by pedestrians at 16 percent. Drivers and passengers of four-wheeled cars and light vehicles contribute 13 percent, drivers of four-wheeled cars and light vehicles eight percent, riders of two or three-wheeled motorised cycles 6 percent, pedal cyclists’ four percent and drivers/passengers of heavy trucks three percent. The high numbers of bus-related fatalities show a need in this category, consisting of the poorest most vulnerable population.
According to the report, Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) official statistics show an increase in road traffic crash fatalities of three percent between 2010 (1 291 fatalities) and 2019 (2 000 fatalities).
A research conducted by TSCZ in 2018 showed that the country loses about US$406 million annually from an average 40 000 road traffic accidents every year, and this is estimated to be almost three percent of the gross domestic product; estimated at US$14 billion.