Zambia: Road Accidents Still a Menace

THE cold finger of death has again claimed four lives following the road traffic accident which happened on Tuesday night when a Mazhandu bus they boarded careered off the road and overturned in Monze.

In Chipata, one person died on the spot after a Mitsubishi Canter lost control and rammed into a bridge. In both accidents, several other passengers were left with injuries.

Statistics indicate that the month of December experiences increased road traffic accidents across the country either by private or public mode of transport. Road carnage ranks the second leading cause of unnatural deaths.

Driving at excessive speed and general negligence of basic traffic rules have been cited as some of the causes of such fatal mishaps.

Much as we share in the grief of the families that have lost their beloved ones, those who drive vehicles can surely avoid road accidents if only they adhered to the tenets that govern the highways.

Concerned road users have observed high levels of indiscipline on the road where some motorists drive above the stipulated speed limits and carelessly cut into other users' lanes with impunity.

If most of the vehicles involved in accidents are relatively new and accidents happen on well-maintained road networks, the problem, therefore, rests on drivers themselves.

It is the drivers' training and discipline on the road that has dominated the cries of concerned authorities, questioning the sobriety of some drivers entrusted with lives on the highways.

It is also evident that from the time at which some accidents occur, some drivers could have been fatigued lacking.

With the influx of motor vehicles being purchased from Japan, there is also an increased number of people with the surge to jump on the driver's seat and drive even without proper training.

Clearly, a motor vehicle is meant to ease man's movements and lighten the burden of carrying heavy loads, why should a man turn the very facility into a death trap?

Zambia need to rise above mare reporting about what accident has claimed how many lives for statics, mourning and supporting the victims.

It is time Zambia faced this problem with zeal and same vigour employed against the fight of HIV/AIDS, crime and corruption.

Unfortunately, recent calls by authorities that erring drivers be subjected to weekly simple imprisonment may not be a better solution to avoid accidents, but that measures be taken to nip the problem in the bud.

Road carnage can certainly be avoided by taking bold measures like revisiting speed limiters, serious monitoring and evaluation of drivers.

Nipping it in the bud would mean ridding the highway of underage drivers, uncompromised check up on all road networks, retesting drivers, strict driving lessons and approval of road worthy motor vehicles.

Thus, 10 basic driving rules stand; Know the Highway Code by heart and put it into practice, concentrate all the time on your driving, think before you act, exercise patience and hang back when necessary, drive with care and overtake quickly.

Also, drive fast only in the right places, develop your car sense and reduce wear and tear, use horn considerably and give proper signals, be sure your car is roadworthy and know its limitations, perfect your road-craft and acknowledge courtesies shown to you by other road users.

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