26 December 2012

Tanzania: Beware, Motorbikes Are Notorious Killers

IT HAS been reported that road accidents involving motorcycles have claimed 771 lives out of the 4,637 accidents recorded countrywide between January and November, this year.

The accidents also left 4,562 victims injured during the same period. These figure show that motorcyclists and their passengers are more vulnerable in road accidents. The figures also indicate that there is something seriously wrong with the riding skills of motorcyclists and their knowledge and use of roads and traffic signs.

In fact, this is no longer news in this country. Road accidents are now a canker that appears to defy State intervention. In yesteryears this nation saw the worst road carnage on highways, a situation that prompted calls for speed governors on passenger buses.

Dar es Salaam Road Safety Board offered free education on traffic rules and regulations for drivers and motorcyclists in a quest to curb accidents. This move took many people aback for, it had come to light that most drivers did not bother to acquire licences.

It is imperative to mention here that right thinking Tanzanians are downright tired and incensed by the spate of road carnage. Government leaders, including President Jakaya Kikwete, have spoken bitterly about the chain of grim accidents in this country.

Most of the accidents, it has been determined, stem from the recklessness of drivers, some of whom handle passenger buses without the least regard to safety. In most cases passenger buses overturn or get tyre-bursts due to irrational speeding.

It has also come to light that some of the buses are mechanically faulty often sporting bald tyres and inefficient brakes. Some of the drivers, especially those who have never had driving lessons and do not even possess driving licences, drive at frightening speed.

Many of them hardly know what the roadside traffic signs require. So, to some extent, taxi drivers are equally to blame for unreasonable handling of cars. Some people drive motor vehicles even when they are dead drunk. It is some of these dare-devil drivers who never seem to learn from past catastrophes.

A few years ago the drivers association protested vigorously when it was ordered that all buses be fitted with speed governors to tame reckless drivers and curb accidents. The association lamented that the gadgets were expensive and did not stop accidents after all.

Furthermore, it is this unwitting rigidity in the mindsets of drivers that is the most worrisome. And, beware! Motorcycle taxis are the most notorious killers now. A lot of concern has been floated but not even the best of advice appears to be heeded. Traffic rules and regulations in this country are express and clear-cut but they do not appear to stem the rot.

This nation has seen a frightening spate of road accidents many of which have snuffed out lives. So, given the ever increasing number of accidents, any move that is aimed at checking further deterioration of the situation is most welcome.

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