The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Concern Over Rise in Road Crash Deaths

Government has expressed concern over the increased number of deaths in road accidents this festive season. This follows reports from the police that nine more people died in road accidents recorded across Zimbabwe between Wednesday and yesterday morning.

This brought the death toll to 143 compared to 72 deaths during the same period last year.

Seven hundred and eighty-eight others were injured.

A total of 872 accidents were recorded across Zimbabwe since the beginning of the festive season.

In a statement yesterday, Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development secretary Mr Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the situation was "unacceptable".

"Available statistics indicate that the number of deaths from accidents have actually increased compared to last year's figures over the same period.

"This situation is unacceptable and should be a major concern to every Zimbabwean, particularly drivers.

"It is the duty of every motoring Zimbabwean to adhere to safe driving and that way we all contribute towards saving precious lives."

Mr Munodawafa urged drivers and public service vehicle owners to stick to prescribed speed limits, not to over-load and to stick to their routes and time tables as stipulated in their route authorities.

He said drivers should desist from taking alcohol while driving and ensure that vehicles are roadworthy and not defective.

Mr Munodawafa urged motorists to "generally observe all road traffic rules and regulations; and owners of passenger public service vehicles to desist from over-working their drivers."

Meanwhile, national police spokesperson Superintendent Paul Nyathi yesterday said police had impounded 824 unroadworthy vehicles and issued 10 362 tickets to motorists for violating various traffic offences.

The accidents have been attributed to speeding, inattention, misjudgement, driving too close to a vehicle in front, overtaking, reversing and turning errors.

Seventy-two people died while 799 others were injured in 555 accidents in accidents recorded during the same period last year.

Supt Nyathi said Manicaland recorded the highest number of deaths with 29.

Twenty-six people died in Mashonaland East, Masvingo recorded 22 deaths, Matabeleland North (18) and Matabeleland South had 13 deaths.

Eleven people died in the Midlands province while 10 people died in Harare during the same period.

Mashonaland West recorded 12 deaths while Bulawayo and Mashonaland Central recorded three and two deaths respectively.

Eight people, including six family members, died on Monday night.

Six people died on the spot while the other two died on admission at St Michael's Hospital.

Supt Nyathi urged motorists to continue exercising caution while obeying all traffic rules and regulations.

He said members of the force would remain deployed on the country's major roads to ensure there is sanity.

A total of 147 people were killed last year while 1 304 others were injured during the festive season.

From January to October this year, 28 929 accidents were recorded, compared to 26 500 recorded during the same period last year.

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