By James Muonwa
TRANSPORT minister, Felix Mhona has made a passionate plea to public transport operators not to over-work their drivers during the current Easter holidays in order to avoid road traffic accidents.
The longest public holiday on the national calendar began Friday and ends on Monday.
In a statement Friday, Mhona appealed to drivers to use roadworthy vehicles and adhere to regulated speed limits to avoid fatal road traffic accidents.
“I would like to appeal to operators of public service vehicles and private motorists not to use defective and unroadworthy vehicles.
“Operators are also strongly urged to desist from the habit of over-working their drivers which results in driver fatigue.
“Drivers should stick to regulated speed limits, as speeding is one of the major causes of fatal accidents,” said the minister.
Public transporters are notorious for setting outrageous targets for their bus crews, a development that often results in disregard for timetables and speeding.
Mhona also urged drivers to avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol.
He said in order to curtail the prevalence of accidents, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) will undertake joint enforcement operations throughout the Easter and Independence holidays.
Added Mhona, “Road safety has a sharper focus during this period with more people travelling to holiday destinations or to join family and church gatherings for Easter.
“I would, therefore, want to urge all road users to observe traffic laws as well as Covid-19 guidelines (set) by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and World Health Organisation.”
Passengers aboard public vehicles are expected to wear face masks, while bus and commuter omnibus employees should observe Covid-19 prevention protocols, which also include sanitising and physical distancing.
Zimbabwe has a history of bloody holidays in which dozens have been killed or maimed.
Last year’s Easter holiday was however different as the country was in the middle of a total Covid-19 induced lockdown which prevented citizens from embarking on inter-city travel.
The development saw next to zero fatalities during the period.