Zim festive roads fatalities deadlier than ever

HARARE - The number of people who have died on the country’s roads since December 15 is already higher than last year, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has said.

In a statement, police spokesperson Charity Charamba said 1 398 accidents occurred from December 15 to January 1, with 136 deaths recorded.

Charamba said the number of deaths increased as compared to the same period last year when 89 people died in road traffic accidents.

Since the beginning of the festive season, there have been more than 1 300 road traffic accidents.

“A total of 1 398 accidents were recorded this year compared to 1 396 last year. 136 people died this year compared to 89 last year. 755 people were injured compared to 565 last year. There were 99 fatal road accidents compared to 82 last year,” Charamba said.

She said a comprehensive report on the statistics was yet to be compiled; Unity Day recorded the largest number of deaths with 19 fatalities in a single day.

Charamba also urged the public to help curb road carnage as most accidents were attributed to human error such as disregarding road regulations, speeding and driving unroadworthy vehicles.

“There is a concern with the increase in the number of pedestrians who were killed during the period 21 to 27 December 2017, where 27 pedestrians died compared to 12 deaths recorded during the same period last year,” the police spokesperson said.

Zimbabwe’s road network has become a death trap for many motorists as the roads have gone for decades without routine maintenance and repairs.

Ideally roads are designed to go for 20 years, after which it is recommended that they should be completely overhauled and reconstructed.

However, due to the tough economic situation, Zimbabwe has not been able to refurbish its roads and still uses those inherited from the colonial-era, except for the Mutare-Plumtree highway which was refurbished between 2013 and 2016.

Most of the country’s roads are now characterised by huge potholes and sharp edges which rip tyres apart and cause accidents.