Huge leap in Easter road death toll

By Blessings Mashaya

Almost double last year’s death toll has been recorded on Zimbabwe’s roads over the Easter weekend so far — and almost all of them over human error.

PASSERSBY throng the scene of an accident where a bus plunged in a ditch at steep slope popularly known as Danger near Esigodini yesterday. pic by Fortune Muzarabani.

Last year’s figure of seven compares with 21 people killed this year, and a further 105 seriously injured as compared to 43 last year.

There were 182 separate road traffic accidents recorded countrywide since the start of the Easter Holiday last Friday as compared to 106 last year, making it one of the bloodiest holidays.

About 61 unroadworthy vehicles were impounded this year, compared to 63 last year.

Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said in a statement yesterday that the major causes of accidents so far recorded were mostly human error.

“The major cause of the accidents so far has been observed to be speeding, inattention, misjudgment, overtaking errors and failure to observe road rules and regulation. We urge drivers to travel at safe speeds and consider the safety of other road users.

“Pedestrians are also being urged to be observant when crossing our roads and to use designated crossing points,” Nyathi said.

Ahead of the holidays, chief police spokesperson senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba urged drivers to exercise caution on the roads.

“We urge motorists to adhere to road rules and regulations and therefore avoid speeding, overtaking errors, overloading, drunken driving, competing for passengers on the highways, driving against one way and over pavements, straddling the centre demarcation lines on the roads and flashing other motorists during the night,” she said.

“If possible we are urging motorists not to travel at night.

“Be on the lookout for animals on the highways as you travel and ensure that your vehicles are roadworthy.”

Charamba’s statement also said the force had deployed police officers who will be carrying out awareness campaigns and enforcing road rules and regulations.

“We are appealing for responsible driving and cooperation with the police as they carry out their duties. The ZRP urges members of the public to board vehicles from the designated points to curb incidences of robbery and loss of property.

“The police will also be conducting foot, cycle and motorised patrols in residential, industrial and farming areas to fight cases of unlawful entry and theft, stock theft and robbery.”

A recent government survey indicated that Zimbabwe’s roads had outlived their recommended life-span by at least three decades.

Roads are designed to go for 20 years, after which it is recommended that they should be completely overhauled and reconstructed.

However, due to the tough economic situation, Zimbabwe has not been able to refurbish its roads and still uses those inherited from the colonial era, except for the Mutare-Plumtree highway which was refurbished in 2013. Most of the country’s roads are now characterised by huge potholes and sharp edges which rip tyres apart and cause accidents. Daily News

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