Highway patrols must be effective

HARARE - Not a year passes without a major accident taking place on the country’s highways.

Government has never been proactive, but reacts only when tragedy has struck.

Only last week, 46 people died when two buses — Smart Express and Bolt Cutter — were involved in a head-on collision just outside Rusape. According to reports, the Smart Express bus driver attempted to overtake in front of an oncoming Bolt Cutter bus, leading to the collision.

This accident ranks as one of the worst in recent history as in June last year, 43 people died after a King Lion bus crashed near Nyamakate in Mashonaland West Province.

In April of the same year, a South Africa-bound Proliner bus side-swiped with a haulage truck at Nyamatikiti River near Chaka Business Centre killing over 30 passengers — mostly cross-boarder traders — who were burnt beyond recognition.

These are no mean statistics which call for prompt action on the part of the authorities. That Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa recently hinted on increased police highway patrols may only be part of the solution.

Perhaps the greatest panacea to road carnage does not lie entirely with regulation. Drivers must always exercise caution on the roads, cognisant of the fact that human life can not be recovered once lost. This respect for the sanctity of human life must drive all road users into acting responsibly.

Traditionally, most of the accidents on Zimbabwean roads result from human error, speeding, overtaking errors, misjudgment, inattention, reversing errors and unlicensed drivers. While the police must continue to enforce traffic laws, ensuring no unroadworthy vehicle passes through their checkpoints, stringent speed control measures are also needed, especially on public transport vehicles to help reduce accidents as well as fatalities.

It is important, however, that increased police highway patrols must remain focused on the job at hand in order to be optimally effective. Distractions like those that used to happen in the past when traffic police were roundly accused of ill-treating motorists and soliciting for bribes must never be allowed.

There must also be an age cap on drivers of passenger vehicles so that those who are easily excitable, especially the young, are barred from driving public passenger vehicles.

Regulations and other interventions must not be episodic but must be continuous processes in order to minimise carnage on our roads.

Comments (2)

I would propose that all public transport vehicles with a passenger capacity of 15 and above be fitted with a mandatory tracking unit. Police must check at random with the tracking company any speed violations and ticket them mercilessly. Operators must know their license can be cancelled for x infringements. Over-speeding drivers must have their licenses cancelled and prohibited from driving for life. Operators must look after all the deceased's relatives financial needs until they turn 18. Any police member abdicating their roadblock duty by letting the system down in any way (eg failure to ticket for speeding) must be fired immediately.

Sagitarr - 16 November 2018

We are fitting speed governors compatible with all buses, we have fitted on EXTRA CITY BUSES ,THEY ARE ARE EXCELLENT IN LIMITING SET SPEED AND DIFFICULT TO TEMPER. 0773762203

Tendai Mujuru - 18 November 2018

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