HARARE – The staggering number of deaths in just over four days of the Easter holidays due to road accidents raises serious questions about implementation of traffic laws.
Officially, over 45 people have died in accidents involving mainly public service vehicles, otherwise known as kombis, pointing to either negligence or just plain indiscipline on the part of drivers.
The number could be higher since not all accidents are reported in the press.
This year’s Easter holiday deaths are almost twice last year’s 23.
Such a high number is unacceptable.
We cannot have more years in this country when so many people have their lives ended, not by what they do, but by what other negligent drivers do.
We have seen a spate of horror crashes across the country in the past few days.
All this despite the most vigorous and stern warnings from the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe of zero tolerance and the full might of the law which seem to challenge the aggressiveness of our drivers.
A significant majority of these miscreants are kombi drivers. Police must take their share of blame, but drivers too, including those behind the wheels of private cars, are not wholly-innocent.
The reckless behaviour witnessed on our roads everyday is indicative of a culture of defiance borne out of the assumption that any infringement can be covered up with a bribe.
This attitude has been encouraged by the behaviour of corrupt law enforcers who accept to be paid off by a section of the kombi establishment.
It would be foolhardy to suggest that kombis are wholly to blame for the accidents on our roads; pedestrians too play their part.
But there is enough data to prove that restoring order to the chaotic sector, whose operations have long since been condemned by the commuting public, would result in a drastic drop in tragic road accidents.
We continue to call on the government to retain and introduce adequate measures to ensure that public transport is improved in the national interest.
It is quite regrettable the working class are the ones who suffer the most when government fails to provide them with affordable, reliable and safe public transport.
The three major focus areas — unroadworthy vehicles, speeding and overloading — are at the very core of deaths on our roads.
We have watched every Easter and December, as fatal and serious road crashes take centre stage, every year.
The message is the same, surely we need a different approach to this problem. – Staff Writer