Spike in road fatalities

Tanyaradzwa Kutaura
The country’s roads are increasingly becoming death traps as fatalities from traffic accidents have progressively risen in the first quarter of 2018, something the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) blames on the flagrant disregard of rules by motorists.

In January, the number of people killed on the road accidents was 17,6 percent higher than last year. There was a 56 percent increase in injuries.

While the number of crashes rose by 25,6 percent in February from a month earlier, the number of people killed and injured in accidents fell by 10 percent and two percent respectively.

In March, the number of people killed rose 31 percent, while those injured was up 11 percent.

TSCZ managing director Mr Obio Chinyere said there was a noticeable increase in incidences where motorists deliberately disobeyed road rules.

“As you have seen, statistics have increased mainly because drivers are not obeying road traffic laws and they tend to speed,” said Mr Chinyere.

“There are many reasons to take into account; for example, we have unlicensed drivers on our roads and also the issue of night driving plays an integral part.”

Police recently flagged the worrying rise in road traffic accidents during the Easter holidays.

After recently commissioning the $700 000 Bulawayo-Plumtree fencing project, TSCZ plans to begin similar works on the Bulawayo to Beitbridge stretch to reduce the incidence of accidents involving livestock and wildlife.

Criminals tend to steal the perimeter fences, whose lifespan is at least 25 years.

TSCZ spokesperson Mr Tatenda Chinoda said fencing along the 102km Bulawayo-Plumtree Road was part of its 100-day programme, at a cost of just over $700 000.

The council is engaging communities to protect the fence.

“What we are seeing happening is re-fencing of the perimeter fence, meaning it is again after our people vandalised the existing fence.

“So to guard against vandalism of State property of the same, we tried to incorporate local communities in terms of provision of general labour that is required to erect the fence and then generate collective consciousness around the issue of surveillance on the part of the local villagers, as well as vigilance,” said Mr Chinoda.

“Vigilance is what we highlighted to our villagers in order to make sure that they shun vandalism and take that particular fence as their fence.

“We are trying to bridge the them-and-us mentality; that is, them as in Government and it’s us here.

“So that’s one major challenge we are to observe because any fence that is properly erected alongside a highway must last for 25 years; that’s the duration or lifespan of that fence.”

In 2016, a Harare-bound bus on its way from Botswana hit more than 20 cattle and killed 18 of them on the spot. No human casualties were recorded.

Three years earlier, National Railways of Zimbabwe general manager Air Commodore (Retired) Mike Karakadzai died when his car hit a stray cow and overturned near Shangani.

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  • Mutton

    $700 000 spent on fencing ! that’s a ludicrous amount of money. Keep the animal owners responsible for their own livestock, or if they are found within the road boundaries, they will be eradicated and taken away, with no compensation to the owner. This will keep beasts off the roads.