traffic safety1.jpgOver the years, carnage on Zimbabwe’s roads has become rampant, especially towards public holidays.

Every year hundreds of people die on the roads during the months of December, April and August.

 

Lately, the month of August has proven to be the bloodiest.

 

 

Coincidentally, a few weeks before this normally bloody month on the roads, the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe joined the world to commemorate Global Traffic Safety Week.

 

The council held an indaba with all stakeholders in the transport sector to map out ways of curbing accidents which are claiming lives and maiming many people.

 

Health Adviser in the President’s Office, Dr. Timothy Stamps who was the Guest of Honour at the Indaba, also lamented the rate of fatal road accidents which he partially blamed on human error.

 

He said: “It is incident not accident and it is human volition….”

 

A transport management director in the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development, Mr. Allowance Sango said the transport sector needs a new approach to reduce accidents.

 

“We have realized that our driving curricula and regulations are lacking in a lot of areas….this is what we are trying to do,” he said.  

 

Some of the fatal accidents have been blamed on vehicle defects and public transport owners have been blamed for not properly maintaining their vehicles as they avoid costs to maximize profits.

 

On many occasions, tyre retreads have been cited as major contributors to fatal accidents.

 

Operations Executive of National Tyre Service, Tafadzwa Choto said the issue of vehicle maintenance should not be taken lightly.

 

He said: “The maintenance of a vehicle…retreads are not the problem…tyre pressure causes heat to build up, causing bursts.”

 

With public operators clearly after profit, it has been left to the police to ensure that road regulations are adhered to.

 

However, the police have been accused of corruption with allegations of taking bribes and allowing un-roadworthy vehicles to operate.

 

Police road blocks have since been christened ‘unofficial toll gates.’

 

Police Traffic spokesperson, Inspector Tigere Chigome however said curbing corruption should not be left to the police alone as it requires a combined approach.

 

“The issue of corrupt officers is worrisome and any corrupt officer is dismissed from the force ….so we are saying tell the next officer or report at the nearest police station,” he said.

 

Zimbabwe has a high rate of traffic accidents compared to the other countries in the region.

 

Worldwide, traffic accidents claim 3 000 lives a day and an average 1,3 million people die on the roads every year globally.

Between 20 to 30 million non fatal injuries are recorded every year the world over.

 

According to a World Health Organization report of 2009, 80% of road accidents are avoidable.