The Herald (Harare)

19 April 2014

Zimbabwe: 11 die, 77 Injured in Holiday Accidents

ELEVEN people were killed while 77 others were injured in 74 accidents recorded countrywide so far during the Independence and Easter holidays. The accidents occurred between Thursday and yesterday morning.

During the same period last year, three people died while 71 others were injured in 47 road accidents that were recorded.

National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi yesterday attributed the accidents to human error, speeding, inattention and tailgating.

"We have also impounded 79 unroadworthy vehicles. However, as police we will be out in full force to ensure that all motorists drive carefully and exercise extreme caution on the roads during the Independence and Easter holidays," he said.

Chief Supt Nyathi said of the 11 fatalities, Manicaland had the highest deaths with six, Mashonaland East had two while Harare, Matabeleland North and Midlands recorded one death each.

Meanwhile, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Dr Obert Mpofu has urged all road users to observe road traffic rules and regulations.

"It is once again time for celebration of the Easter and Independence holidays, time when thousands travel to the rural areas to reunite with family and friends or travel to attend Easter Church conventions in various centres throughout the country.

"This also means that there will be increased traffic on our roads. I am therefore urging all road users to use the road wisely and observe all traffic regulations," he said.

Chief Supt Nyathi appealed to public transport operators to desist from using defective and unroadworthy vehicles in a bid to maximise profits.

The minister said the police and the Vehicle Inspection Department would be out in full force during this period.

"In this regard the Vehicle Inspectorate Department has already deployed for round the clock operations, which will continue until after the Independence holidays, on all major roads," Minister Mpofu said.

He said all defective vehicles were going to be impounded and urged operators to desist from overworking drivers.

Minister Mpofu said operators were also reminded to stick to their their route authority and adhere to timetables.

"It is the operators' obligation to ensure that their buses are not overloaded, drivers are not under the influence of alcohol and to encourage their drivers to stick to the regulated speed limits as speeding is one of the major causes of fatal accidents.

"My ministry will deal decisively with any operators whose drivers behave in a manner that disregards the sanctity of human life," he said.

Minister Mpofu said public service vehicles should also have red reflective triangles and those found without, shall be punished in terms of the Road Traffic Act and the Road Motor Transportation Act.

He said in the extreme, this may include invoking powers of the Commissioner to suspend or cancel their licence or route authority, or cancellation of driver's licence for not complying with driving requirements.

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