By Pamela Shumba
The Heroes and Defence Forces holidays ended on Tuesday with the police recording an increase in the number of people killed in road traffic accidents from 12 in 2018 to 17 during the same period this year.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said the statistics also show an increase from last year in the number of accidents that occurred in the country.
“The recorded statistics for the Heroes and Defence Forces’ Day holidays show an increase in the number of accidents recorded from 116 to 143 while the number of people killed also increased from 12 to 17. The number of people injured increased from 64 to 123.
“The fatal accidents include the one which occurred on Sunday along the Mutare-Harare highway, when a Toyota Hiace with eight family members rammed into a stationary truck which was parked along the road. Two people died on the spot while six others were injured,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said in Beitbridge, seven people were killed and nine others injured when a vehicle they were travelling in veered off the road and overturned at the 10km peg along the Lutumba-Chitulipasi road.
Asst Commissioner Nyathi added that four of the deceased, all from Beitbridge were identified as Joram Mdlongwa (30), Bekhapi Sithole (39), Cephas Chando (26) and Tafadzwa Tlou (23).
“Three bodies are yet to be identified by their next of kin and we’re appealing to members of the public to proceed to Beitbridge Hospital mortuary to assist with their identification,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said on Tuesday, at about 11.30AM, the driver of a Toyota Hiace travelling along the Bulawayo-Nkayi road failed to control the vehicle on approaching the bridge at Khoce River.
“The vehicle veered off the road killing six people, including the driver and injuring 20. Those who died in the accident are yet to be identified and bodies were referred to Mpilo Hospital mortuary.
“The injured were referred to Mpilo Central Hospital for treatment,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said the major causes of the accidents in the recorded cases were speeding, overloading and overtaking errors.
Asst Comm Nyathi appealed to drivers to consider the conditions on the road, the state of their vehicles and luggage or load as these contribute to road accidents.
He urged drivers of broken down or parked vehicles along highways to display red reflective triangles to warn other road users of impending danger. “Drivers should embrace a change of mindset on the roads and contribute towards total safety,” said Asst Comm Nyathi. The Chronicle