Traffic deaths can be avoided

HARARE - Late on Wednesday afternoon, at least 47 Zimbabweans lost their lives following a head-on bus collision along the Harare-Mutare highway.

A Smart Express coach crashed with a Bolt Cutter bus near Torish Farm just after the Rusape tollgate.

Although police are still investigating the cause of the accident, initial accounts from eyewitness and survivors suggest negligence was at the centre of the catastrophe.

The Smart Express driver reportedly tried to overtake a haulage truck on a blind spot before encroaching into the lane of the on-coming Bolt Cutter bus.

The part of the road where the crash occurred has clearly marked solid continuous lines in the middle of the highway.

According to the Highway Code, solid continuous lines clearly prohibit drivers from overtaking.

Public transport drivers are expected to be very proficient in road rules.

However, because of corruption at the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) a number of incompetent people are obtaining drivers’ licences.

Public transport drivers fall in the Class 1 category, which needs a potential driver to score a 100 percent mark in the provisional test.

Owing to corruption, people easily score the 100 percent mark without thoroughly studying the Highway Code.

It’s the same case with the practical test, it’s an open secret that all one needs to do is to pay a bribe of between $150 and $200 in order to ace this assessment.

While a great number of public transport drivers are taking a short cut in obtaining their credentials, it is the nation that is suffering in the long run.

These incompetent and reckless drivers are killing people on Zimbabwean roads on a daily basis.

At the moment, a drastic shift is needed at the Transport ministry, VID, police and other relevant authorities in order to stop these unnecessary deaths.

With the advancement of technology, it is now easy to monitor traffic on the national highways without deploying overzealous police officers at roadblocks.

Placing cameras at all strategic points along roads which are connected to a national traffic monitoring centre will be the best way to deal with reckless drivers.

This centre will be manned 24 hours and once a reckless driver is spotted, a nearby traffic police vehicle will then be alerted to make a roadside stop.

The video evidence will help convict the errant driver while a lot of lives will be saved.

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