Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
At least 130 people were killed in road traffic accidents during the 2015 festive season, indicating a 27 percent increase compared to 102 people who perished during the same period in 2014. This makes the 2015 festive season one of the bloodiest in history and the death toll is expected to rise as police continue to record accidents up to January 15. According to the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Christmas period recorded most accidents compared to the New Year Holiday that had less volume of traffic on the roads.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the increase in the death toll was an indication that drivers had not paid heed to several warnings by the police and other stakeholders.
“From December 15, 2015 to January 2, 2016, 130 people were killed in road traffic accidents compared to 102 during the same period, that is December 15, 2014 to January 2, 2015. “Most fatal accidents were as a result of speeding, negligent passengers/ pedestrians, inattention, misjudgment and tyre bursts,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said analysts had attributed tyre bursts to the high temperatures the country was experiencing. “The number of people killed this festive season, increased due to accidents which claimed many lives in one accident such as three accidents which occurred along Zvishavane-Masvingo Road which claimed 10, seven and five lives respectively,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba gave comparison of accident statistics for December 22, 2015 and 2014. She said five people died while 38 were injured in 2015 compared to four deaths in 2014 and 61 people were maimed. Seventy-eight accidents were recorded in 2015, while 149 vehicles were impounded compared to 85 accidents in 2014 and 223 vehicles that were condemned.
Police arrested 7 448 traffic offenders on Unity Day last year compared to 7 479 in 2014. Between December 24 and 26, 2015, police say 27 people died and 168 injured, while during the same period in 2014, 31 were killed and 142 were injured.
Police recorded 267 accidents in 2015 while 344 vehicles were impounded compared to 240 accidents in 2014 and 516 defective vehicles impounded during the same period in 2014.
Police arrested 20 193 last year and 22 072 in 2014. Statistics reveal that during New Year Holiday last year 16 people were killed in road accidents, while 86 were injured, while in 2014, 11 were killed and 112 injured.
At least 198 accidents were recorded in 2015, while 392 vehicles were impounded compared to 206 accidents in 2014 and 437 vehicles were impounded. A total of 20 155 motorists were arrested compared to 19 111 in 2014. Snr Asst Comm Charamba appealed to motorists to drive cautiously on the roads.
“Motorists should observe road rules and regulations. The police will not hesitate to enforce the road rules and regulations . . .” She added: “The total disregard for human life as demonstrated by commuter omnibus drivers who reverse, drive on pavements, against one way and commit all sorts of nuisance will be severely dealt with.”