EDITORIAL COMMENT: Respect sanctity of life on our roads

Our condolences go to the families of the 31 people who were killed in a bus crash along the Harare-Bulawayo Highway last week. The bus side-swiped with a commuter omnibus after it burst a front tyre. Police have said that since November last year, 77 people have died and 38 others injured in 46 road traffic accidents caused by vehicle tyres bursting. It is sad that vehicle tyre bursts have been found to be contributing to many accidents in the country.

Drivers and owners of public service vehicles should do everything within their means to safeguard the lives of people on the roads. It boggles the mind that a responsible vehicle owner can put on the road a bus with worn out tyres.

The fact that tyre bursts have contributed to many accidents means that the Government has to come up with tough measures to discourage vehicle owners and drivers from using buses or any other vehicle with worn out tyres.

Drivers should always ensure that their tyres are balanced before they embark on a journey. You cannot have a bus carrying many people moving on worn out tyres, that is a recipe for disaster.

Most of the times the drivers of these public service vehicles would be speeding knowing fully well that their buses are moving on highly suspect tyres. You would expect drivers of such vehicles to travel at a safe speed that allows them to control the vehicle in the event of an accident.

But this has not been the case with the drivers as they continue to speed as if the vehicles have brand new tyres. The probability of a second hand or worn out tyre bursting is very high compared to brand new tyres.

It is for this reason that we urge the Government to come up with tough measures, attracting a fine or a jail term for bus and other public service vehicles moving on the roads with worn out or second hand tyres.

We can only encourage the use of brand new tyres by agitating for a ban on second hand tyres. Effectively this means banning the importation of second hand tyres. We have seen, and police have confirmed that worn out and second hand tyres have caused numerous accidents and no one in their right senses can sit back and watch without introducing tough restrictions.

Those who buy second hand tyres always argue that they are cheaper compared to brand new ones. But we have seen from police statistics that second hand tyres are actually expensive in view of the problems associated with maintaining them. You are always forced to buy replacements because they do not last long compared to brand new tyres.

In fact, there should not be arguments on the use of brand new tyres.

That is what the Government should encourage so that we remain seized with at least one problem — speeding. The advantages of using a brand new tyre are not debatable.

Chances of a brand new tyre bursting are very low compared to second hand tyres and so should never be allowed on the roads. Second hand tyres are cheap, yes, but dangerous.

We also call upon drivers of public service vehicles to desist from speeding and to always respect the sanctity of human life. Let those found driving vehicles with worn out or second hand tyres be heavily penalised.

This is one way of safeguarding the lives of people on our roads.

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