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Road carnage toll surges to 70 in one week
23/12/2012 00:00:00
by Roman Moyo
 
Deadly smash ... Crash that killed Adam Ndlovu
 
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SOME 70 people have been killed in road accidents across the country over the past 7 days, a police spokesman said on Sunday.

Superintendent Tinaye Matake blamed speeding for most of the crashes and urged motorists to stick to speed limits and observe all road regulations.

Matake said 412 injuries have also been recorded from 579 accidents that have occured since the outset of the traffic festive season on December 15.

Matabeleland North Province had the highest number of deaths, with 13 people killed in 16 accidents.

Harare, Matake said, led in the number of crashes, with 244 cases that claimed 6 lives.

Some 546 defective vehicles were impounded and 8, 000 drivers have been cited for overloading.

The statistics of fatalities include the smash that killed soccer legend Adam Ndlovu and injured his young brother, Peter, along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway a week ago.

Last year, a total of 147 people were killed while 1, 304 others were injured during the Christmas festive period.

The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) said last month that about five people die on Zimbabwean roads every day.

The traffic watchdog revealed the statistics on the commemoration of the Traffic Victims World Remembrance Day where it unveiled a programme to reduce the carnage on the roads by 50 percent over the next eight years.

“This figure is achievable if all drivers observe road rules and are more cautious and responsible," TSCZ managing director Obio Chinyere was quoted as saying of the 2020 target.

In 2010, the government launched a policy document called “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020” with a pledge to save 5 million lives by implementing road safety strategies and tough enforcement of road regulations.

But in 2011, Zimbabwe saw its bloodiest year on the roads since government started keeping records in 2006, with accidents peaking at a high of 34, 000.

Some 17, 000 people were injured while about 2, 000 lost their lives.

Police say deteriorating road infrastructure and the increase in the volume of cars in the past few years are some of the factors that are pushing upwards the rate of crashes and fatalities.

Chinyere said nearly 85 percent of all accidents were caused by human error - usually speeding or drunk drivers who normally escape punishment either due to inadequate police resources or by bribing officers.



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“With the daily increase in the number of vehicles on our roads and the presence of multiple users such as cyclists, pedestrians and donkey drawn carts, this menace needs urgent attention,” Chinyere added. “The effects on victims of accidents are cross-cutting.”

The police traffic department is currently running a public campaign to promote road safety under the theme “Drive Safe, Arrive Alive.” The awareness started December 15 and runs through January 15.


 
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