844 bus drivers arrested for speeding In a statement yesterday, police said some of the juveniles were smoking shisha which contained a substance that is now being verified by CID Drugs and Narcotics. 

Freeman Razemba and Ivan Zhakata

BUS drivers are now being routinely fined for speeding as the police applaud the Zimbabwe Public Transport Organisation (ZPTO) for their support in implementing the innovative speed tracking system which has so far seen 844 drivers arrested since last month.

Transport operators recently started fitting buses with speed tracking and limiting devices in line with Statutory Instrument 118 of 2023, which limits speed to 100km/h on the open road.

A monitoring centre has been set up at Harare Central Police Station.

Government recently ordered that all public service vehicles, including buses, be fitted with speed limiting and monitoring devices to ensure speeding by drivers is curbed, thereby saving lives.

Police will be capacitated to ensure compliance, following the gazetting of new regulations by Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona in June.

Yesterday, police held a preparatory meeting for the festive season campaign which was attended by transport operators and other stakeholders in Harare.

Speaking during the meeting, the Officer Commanding Operations in Harare province, Assistant Commissioner Taonei Nyazema, said the festive season was a time for joy and celebrations, but unfortunately, it was also a period marked by increased road carnage. 

“We, as the law enforcement agents, operators and other stakeholders we share the same decisive actions to prevent road accidents, injuries, loss of lives and property destruction. We definitely should not allow the situation to get worse under our watch. Your presence at this important meeting is testimony of the value you are attaching to this meeting.

“Your dedication and commitment to this cause is therefore greatly appreciated. Together we can make a real difference and save lives during the impending festive season. Now, I must share with you the seriousness of the situation we are currently facing. 

“From January to October 2023, Harare Province alone recorded a total of 25 409 accidents, compared to 24 010 accidents during the same period last year. This represents a 9.4 percent increase,” he said.

During the same period, 3 300 people were injured as compared to 3 025 in 2022. 

Asst Comm Nyazema said the province also witnessed 316 deaths resulting from road accidents, compared to 366 in 2022. 

 “For the festive season, 15 December 2022 to 15 January 2023 we had a total of 2 945 accidents where 310 people were injured while 43 were killed. These statistics highlight the urgency and importance of this meeting.

“In light of this, I would like to express my appreciation to the Zimbabwe Public Transport Organisation (ZPTO) for their support in implementing the innovative speed tracking system. Since its launch, we have a cumulative arrest of 844 accused for speeding and revenue of $1 050 was realised through deposit fines. 

“With the implementation of the speed tracking system, this year’s festive season should be an accident free period. No accidents should be recorded. I implore you all to urge all drivers to observe road rules and regulations,” Asst Comm Nyazema said.

He said they have also observed a significant reduction in accidents involving buses as a result of the enforcement of speed limits.

“This is indeed an encouraging development, and we hope that all bus operators will join this initiative before December 15, to ensure that the safety of our travelling publics is guaranteed. Apart from use of the speed tracking initiative, our Province has managed to do a total of 112 campaigns conscientising drivers and operators to avoid speeding. 

“I also want to take this opportunity to reiterate that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is fully committed to maintaining law and order on the roads. We will not tolerate any form of lawlessness. 

“Our duty is to enforce traffic regulations, hold accountable those who violate them, and ensure the safety of all road users. With the support of everyone gathered here, the objective of ensuring a bloodless festive season is within reach. 

“However, it saddens me that there are still hosts of operators who are yet to join the programme. Some operators are even disabling the speed tracking devices, which undermines the purpose of our gathering. This behaviour is deeply troubling, and we must address it collectively,” Asst Comm Nyazema said.

ZPTO Chairman Dr Sam Nhanhanga said their organisation represents the interests of passenger transport operators who provide intercity, intra city and cross border transport service. 

“Today the 29th of November 2023 we are here with law enforcers and insurers to give us their expectations as far as road usage is concerned and promote safety and reliability which is ZPTO’s mission of existence. 

“We have realised compliance is being eroded day by day due to lack of communication among bus operators, bus crews and the law interpreters. Road carnage has become an enormous killer in this country because of accidents. 

“According to the UN and reliable sources, Zimbabwean accidents cost 4 percent of our GDP. At the same time experts have predicted a 4 percent growth of GDP, meaning we are going nowhere. 

“Fellow citizens, drivers, passengers and pedestrians lets join hands and fight road carnage. We have seen it worthwhile to come together during this period where Christians and non-Christians move from one place to the other in high volumes celebrating Christmas and New Year holidays. Drinking and over excitement are at their highest level,” he said.

“We need your word of wisdom to safeguard the lives of citizens and all trespassers. To my fellow bus operators and other road users it has been proved that human error is the main cause of accidents.”

Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) acting director Mr Martin Musengezi said they have put in place measures to ensure the safety of travellers.

“The VID and the police will be in full force throughout the festive season to ensure that there is full compliance and we are ready to maintain safety on our roads. We would like public transport operators to be cautious on the road. 

“As VID we are very much concerned about the roadworthiness of vehicles with particular reference to the bus sector, kombi drivers, the public in general and private motor operators,” he said.

The meeting was attended by senior police officers and bus operators.

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