HARARE – Nine people died in 89 reported road traffic accidents that happened during the recent 2017 Christmas, though the fatalities are 44 percent down from the 16 deaths recorded on the same day last year, police details show.
Ironically, the significant reduction comes at a time the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been forced to drastically reduce its presence on the country’s roads.
The number of traffic accidents recorded on Christmas day also went down by 16 percent from 106 in 2016.
There was also a six percent reduction in the number of people who were injured in the 89 road traffic accidents recorded on Christmas day this year, with 42 injuries being recorded as to 45 injuries in the comparative period.
Deputy national police spokesperson Paul Nyathi attributed the significant reduction to improved behaviour by drivers as a result of awareness campaigns which were carried out jointly by the ZRP and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ).
“The reduction is mainly due to the traffic awareness campaigns but the ZRP and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe. We would want to appeal to drivers to continue observing the rules on the roads,” he said.
Nyathi, however, said that most of the 89 accidents that were recorded this Christmas holiday were a result of human error and could have easily been avoided had the concerned drivers exercised caution.
“Of concern is the fact that most of the accidents took place due to speeding and misjudgment in overtaking where road conditions do not permit someone to do so. This has resulted in several incidents of side-swiping and head-on collisions with fatal consequences,” he said.
He added that the ZRP were currently in the process of collating all crash statistics for the current festive season and would release the results tomorrow.
Police start making their festive traffic accidents compilations from December 15 to January 2, of every year.
Although the full statistics have not been availed yet, the bloodiest day so far is December 22, the Unity Day where 19 people perished on the country’s worn out roads which have become death traps due to their poor conditions.
A recent government survey indicated that Zimbabwe’s roads had outlived their recommended life-span by at least three decades.
Road 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 between 2013 and 2013.
Most of the country’s roads are now characterised by huge potholes and sharp edges which rip tyres apart and cause accidents.