EDITORIAL COMMENT: Taming road carnage a collective duty

The number of people killed in road accidents countrywide so far during Easter Holidays had by late yesterday, doubled compared to the same period last year. Surely this calls for robust interventions if the country is to stop road carnage.

Does it mean that our drivers have lost respect for the sanctity of human life?

If not, why is it that all stakeholders responsible for the safety of road users are failing to come up with a lasting solution to the road carnage?

Reports in one of the sections of this paper indicate that 17 people were killed as of yesterday compared to nine last year, during the same period in 120 and 140 accidents reported, respectively.

Road users need an explanation as to why so many people continue to die on the roads with little or no action being taken by responsible authorities.

What plausible explanation is there about the decrease in road accidents, vis-a-vis the increase in the number of people dying?

Besides, most of the accidents like the Chinhoyi accident involved an overloaded commuter omnibus that was carrying 24 passengers and a Honda Fit that saw six people being killed happened in broad daylight.

Visibility was not an issue.

Our country has suffered enough through sanctions-induced economic hardships, thus we do not want to unnecessarily lose economically active Zimbabweans and breadwinners through accidents, 99,9 percent of which are avoidable.

Besides the human capital wastage, the country also loses thousands of dollars in foreign currency as insurance companies replace damaged buses and motor vehicles that are usually imported.

We therefore call upon all stakeholders in the public transport sector and private motorists in general to reconsider their actions before they deploy crews on the road.

Haulage trucks and bus drivers should have enough rest before they venture onto the roads because driving requires vigilance.

It is very sad that year-in, year-out, the same reasons such as fatigued drivers, vehicle defects, poor state of the roads are attributed to these accidents, yet very little is done to address the inherent problems.

We also question the role of our police officers manning road blocks if a kombi carrying 24 passengers instead of the stipulated 15 passengers, travels all the way from Harare and is involved in an accident after travelling for almost 200 kilometres.

What is the role of those numerous police roadblocks, if they do not check on the carrying capacity regulations, speeding, vehicle fitness among other issues?

During the Easter and Independence holidays, Christians, who are arguably the majority among believers, celebrate the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

They also travel to different parts of the country for the Easter conferences.

We implore pastors, prophets and congregants in general to pray for road users so that they drive to arrive to their destinations alive.

With permission from the police and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, we implore prominent church leaders to spare a few hours from their busy schedule on their pulpits and preach to drivers on the roads, obviously in the presence of law enforcers on the need to drive safely to avoid accidents.

Zimbabweans are a God-fearing people, and it is our hope that the combined efforts of men and women of the cloth, police and road safety officials might help tame the national traffic jungle, so that drivers respect road rules and also respect other road users.

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