Police, please stop the bloodshed

HARARE - While telecommunication technology has meant Zimbabwe catching up with the rest of the globe in the information superhighway, reports that cell phones have become a major contributor to our appalling road carnage are worrying.

As reported in yesterday’s edition, as of this week, police countrywide arrested almost a thousand people and fined them for failing to keep their hands off the talking gadgets while on the wheel.

A record of 180 people have so far died, 901 injured in 1 128 crashes countrywide in a bloody Christmas and New Year’s holidays was never seen before in Zimbabwe. Police say drivers talking on mobile phones contributed significantly to this toll.

It is a horrendous statistic but the most disturbing part is although quantified, the value of lives lost to accidents caused by those who want to drive while at the same time “doing business” on the phone can never be measured in simple statistics.  

Phones have always been a major source of road accidents but our drivers seem to continue ignoring this.

The American National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that at least 28 percent of all traffic crashes — or at least 1,6 million crashes each year — involve drivers using cell phones and texting.

NSC estimates that 1,4 million crashes each year involve drivers using cellphones and a minimum of 200 000 additional crashes each year involve drivers who are texting.

Calls for a ban on all cellphone use and texting while driving have been growing worldwide and Zimbabwe would do well to join the bandwagon and toughen its own laws.

Our clarion call to authorities is: Please spare no effort in finding a speedy solution and enforce regulations against mobile phone use while driving. It will save a lot of lives and the country a lot of human capital and millions of dollars in medical bills and insurance pay-outs.

The discovery of mobile phones and modes of transport were meant to help humanity not exterminate it.

In the same vein, police must desist from demanding bribes from motorists because this is worsening the carnage on the roads. Unlicensed drivers are being left to cause more accidents and this has to stop.

It is now common for police officers to get bribes and allow traffic offenders to go free even with defective vehicles which eventually are involved in deadly accidents.

Police and the motoring public must work together to stop the bloodshed on the roads. - Staff Writer

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