The Zimbabwe Republic Police has urged drivers to exercise caution when driving during and after holidays, saying many fatalities are being caused by human error, including speeding, inattention, overtaking errors, and failure to observe road rules, among others.
Speaking to Great Dyke News 24, ZRP Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said seventy-three people were killed and 202 were injured in 264 accidents recorded countrywide during this year’s Easter and independence holiday.
“The number of people who died during the Easter holiday was too high compared to the previous year. Despite the fact that the country is still facing the threat of the Covid 19 pandemic, people are still traveling and we have reckless drivers.
“People want to overtake where they are not supposed to do so, people want to speed in situations that they are not supposed to be speeding and this has been the major cause of the road accidents.
“Some people were overloading their vehicles due to pressure of the holiday, in the process they try to travel late at night and they get involved in accidents.
“For example the ZCC Mbungo accident that happened in Chimanimani where 38 people died. We also had the Mugodi people who were traveling from Murewa to Nyanga, the other accident happened in Kariba and a number of people died. We also had another accident in Victoria Falls and this happened during the Easter holiday,” he said.
He added that, “After that last week, we had over 15 people dying in a day where we had an accident here in Harare whereby a Honda fit was trying to cross a railway line and it collided with a train.
“We also had another accident in Bulawayo whereby a kombi went through a red robot, in the process, it collided with a haulage truck and again 7 people died. We also had another accident in Masvingo where again five people died when somebody was trying to overtake.
“This goes to show the attitude of drivers we have on the road and also the importance of having a safety mind,” he said.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Road Safety Performance Review of Zimbabwe said road crash deaths rate rose by 34.5 percent between 2011 to 2019, from 1,291 deaths in 2011 up to 2,000 in 2019.
The review said statistics from the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe indicated that road accidents occur on Zimbabwe’s roads every 15 minutes. Five people die every day, which translates to approximately 153 people every month.
It said most of the accidents occur on Fridays and Saturdays, but also on popular holidays including Easter, Heroes, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Analysis by the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe of 16 major crash disasters between 2016 and 2017 that claimed 316 lives, showed that speeding was the main cause of fatalities. It accounted for 37 percent of deaths.
Tire bursts contributed about 4 percent of crashes and road conditions about 1 percent. Reversing and overcorrecting for errors accounted for about 6 percent of fatalities, while disobeying road rules contributed about 3 percent. Negligent driving accounted for about 9 percent.
Further estimates by the council in 2018 showed that the country loses about $406 million annually from an average 40,000 road traffic accidents every year, which is estimated to be almost 3 percent of the gross domestic product.