Accidents killed 1 986 in 2018 — Minister
By Nqobile Tshili
Government has revealed that nearly 2 000 people died last year due to road traffic accidents countrywide, marking a nine percent increase in deaths compared to 2017. Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said in 2018, 1 986 people died due to road accidents compared to 1 828 who perished in 2017.
Minister Matiza revealed this during the 6th Annual Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe Journalistic Awards ceremony held in Harare on Friday.
The minister pleaded with the nation to join hands in reducing road carnage.
“Sadly, we continue to lose lives and limbs on our roads due to the preventable drivers’ conducts. Last year 2018, we recorded an increase in road traffic collisions from 42 950 in 2017 to 52 052 in 2018. Road traffic deaths also increased from 1 828 in 2017 to 1 986 in 2018. The number of people injured went up from 10 584 to 11 924,” said Minister Matiza.
“Deaths and injuries due to preventable road accidents are unacceptable. The sanctity of human life should be respected at all costs.”
He said it was worrying that human error causes 90 percent of the accidents.
Minister Matiza said his ministry is aware of alleged corruption in the procurement of licences, but such allegations were difficult to prove.
“In analysing errors committed by most drivers, you wonder whether they are licensed to drive these vehicles. My ministry will not hesitate to descend heavily on any culprits implicated in soliciting for bribes and giving bribes in order to obtain licences to drive vehicles in Zimbabwe.
“Such corruption must be condemned in the worst of terms. It’s very high risk,” said Minister Matiza.
He said road traffic accidents have a negative impact on economies, particularly for developing countries.
He said road accidents were costing countries about two percent of their Gross Domestic Product annually.
“It’s shocking to learn than in Africa with about 20 percent of the world total vehicle population accounts for 80 percent of total world road crashes. Road traffic collisions result in deaths, injuries, property damage and subsequent social and economic and physical suffering of innocent lives.
“The economic impact of road crashes is also a cause for concern. In low and middle income countries, the cost of road traffic injuries is estimated to be up to $100 billion per year. This is money that could be spent on schools and hospitals for economic development,” he said. The Herald