Plea for safe holidays travel

HARARE - Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (Paz) has called for safe, enjoyable and accident-free holidays as millions of travellers set off for the long Christmas and New Year holidays.

Millions of Zimbabweans will travel over the next week — one of the busiest holiday of the year — with most  going by road, according to Paz, a motorist advocacy group.

On December 25, Zimbabweans are going to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ and on January 1, welcome a new year.

It is going to be a long week starting this weekend, during which most people are going to be travelling long distances to be with their families.

Paz president Tafadzwa Goliati said it was imperative to ensure that the holidays are safe, enjoyable and accident-free.

“We are encouraging everyone to plan their journeys ahead. Passengers should avoid as much as possible travelling at night and should use registered passenger service vehicles that are road worthy.

“They should avoid boarding private vehicles as these do not have passenger insurance, thus one does not get compensation in the event of death or injury,” he said.

“We call upon those that will be driving to have sufficient rest before driving long distances. Owners of passenger service vehicles should ensure that their drivers get sufficient rest.

“Drivers should get recesses after travelling for a couple of hours so as not to get affected by fatigue.”

He encouraged long distance buses to insure their vehicles and ensure that their vehicles are road worthy.

“They should also  have passenger manifest of which a copy should be left either with the bus owners or police, so that in case of a serious accident it will be easier to identify victims,” he said.

Passengers should be wary of thieves at bus termini and should avoid carrying a lot of cash or overloading themselves with goods, he said.

“They should put stickers with their names and contact details on their luggage and should carry the contact of next of kin and identity documents.

“Do not trust anyone just because you have met them in a bus.”

He said passengers should understand that they are responsible for their own lives and should not wait after an accident to state that the driver was speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.

“Order any speeding driver to slow down or report him or her at the nearest roadblock.

“Drivers should stop at road blocks when ordered to do so,” he said.

“As Paz we look forward to a drastic reduction in road accidents during this festive season as compared to previous years, by more than 50 percent.

“This requires everyone’s active responsibility.”