Call for accident-free holidays

Source: Call for accident-free holidays | Herald (Top Stories)

The Transport industry wants a collaborative effort to ensure an accident free Easter and Independence holidays.

Herald Correspondent

The Transport industry wants a collaborative effort to ensure an accident free Easter and Independence holidays this coming long weekend highlighting the significance of road safety and the need for everyone to avoid reckless behaviour.

The industry met yesterday in Harare at the launch of the Easter and Independence road safety campaign in a meeting hosted by the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe.

The launch ceremony was attended by representatives from the Vehicle Inspection Department, Zimbabwe Passengers Transport Organisation (ZPTO), Zupco, Greater Harare Association of Commuter Omnibus Operators, Ace Ambulance Services and the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe.
All agreed that the unbecoming conduct by those who choose to be reckless and undermine the rights of others with their conduct was the major danger and contributor to road accidents.

Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe chairman Mr Kura Sibanda said the disrupter effect of the Covid-19 pandemic had brought about unprecedented challenges not only to the economy but to the day to day operations in main sectors including transport.

“As the country gears up for the Easter and Independence holiday celebrations it is important to once more highlight the significance of road safety. Our roads are meant to enable access to both economic activities as well as social infrastructure and amenities.”

“This Easter and Independence holidays will witness increased volumes on our roads and across our land borders with neighbouring countries,” he said.
“The citizens and tourists use this period to engage in socio-cultural and religious activities especially after long periods of strict lockdowns. In spite of the relaxation of the lockdowns, we however continued to enjoin all road users to adhere to the health protocols and we expect that they will observe these with the same vigour they are expected to follow in adhering to the rules of the road. He said it was a tragedy that the majority of those whose lives are lost during the Easter and Independence periods are the youths between the ages of 20 and 34.

“In Zimbabwe the 4-day weekend is a period on average where we lose no less than 20 lives each year while given the 2-day Independence Day celebrations we lose no less than 10 lives,” Mr Sibanda said.

“In 2021, despite the hard lockdown and travel restrictions, 459 road crashes were recorded during the Easter holidays and 37 people lost their lives while 116 people were injured . It is important for us to note that the majority of fatal crashes occur during Friday and Saturday night and more than 70 percent of the hit and run also happen at night.

“This is a tragedy that could be avoided. We must work harder to reverse time and preserve human life on our roads through collaborative efforts with our stakeholders. We can find new and creative ways to make decisive interventions in this regard. We simply cannot continue using the same tactics that have not worked in the past hoping to achieve different results.”

ZPTO chairman Dr Sam Nanhanga said they needed more collaboration with others in the transport sector to ensure road safety.

“As an organisation we say no to speeding, overworking our drivers, use of unroadworthy vehicles and overloading. We continue to encourage people to abide by the laws of this country.
“We would also want to advise our passengers not to use mushikashika and they should be able to report bad driving to the law enforcement agents. We appeal to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe to assist our industry for self-regulation and road accident funds to compensate accident victims,” he said.

Mr Martin Musengezi, deputy director of VID, cautioned motorists and the travelling public to exercise extreme caution during the holiday.

“We urge motorists to check their vehicle’s brakes and lights and make sure that they are working properly before embarking on a journey. To the travelling public we urge you to travel early so that you avoid any inconveniences,” he said.

Zupco depot manager Mr Zivanayi Thore echoed the same sentiments and said the passenger company had witnessed a transformation in their urban mass transportation division since 2018.

“We have engaged stakeholders which include private bus and commuter omnibus operators. In terms of safety we have engaged VID to check the fitness of our buses and kombis at deport level before they leave and this has resulted in less road accidents.”

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