IN less than a week, about 30 people have lost their lives in grisly road accidents across the country. This is not a small number by any standard, and is thus a cause for concern.
On Friday morning, 12 passengers who were en route to Dar es Salaam from Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya, died at Makole village in Coast Region after their bus was hit by a lorry. According to preliminary police reports, the ill-fated bus had only stopped to allow its passengers lend a hand to their fellows whose bus had just swerved off the road.
That accident happened two days after 17 people died when a bus overturned at Sikonge in Tabora Region. As if the bus crashes were not painful enough, passengers travelling on three buses, were lucky to be alive when the vehicles were involved in separate but close range accidents in Morogoro Region on the same day.
While our hearts go to the families, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives in the accidents, we hesitate to say that road accidents, which, according to traffic police, happened due to recklessness, have become just too many.
In most of these accidents, the police and even eye witnesses say that speeding and brake failure were the two main causes. Bus drivers don't limit their speed and passengers' lives are at their mercy. Today, motorists know almost too well, and some are thus cautious that heavy duty lorries are "prone" to brake failure.
"Never drive your car near these lorries, avoid them as much as you can. Their brake system is unreliable and the vehicle can stop 10 metres, after engaging." These are but common warnings among drivers who have seen how lorries have hit other cars in accidents.
It would perhaps be a little too difficult to look for a solution to accidents, if the causes were not known. However, with the clue at hand, the police have no other excuse but to swing into action to save lives, even if it means halting road transportation until they are satisfied that the vehicles that have been the cause of tears and sorrow, have been removed from the country's highways. Just why do lorry brakes always fail?
What also seems to be a nightmare to the authorities is their failure to force bus owners to install car track system device on their buses. Among the advantages of the device is that it is capable of detecting the cause of an accident. It also can help trace the location of the bus, even when it may have come under siege of highway bandits.
Of course we are not attempting to pre-empt any move by the authorities to curb road accidents. It is just that the rate at which the accidents are happening is rather alarming. If ours is not a cursed society, there is every reason to rise to the occasion and work out strategies that would make travelling something to enjoy rather than to fear.