The Government should pass stiffer penalties for traffic offences to deter motorists from flouting road rules and regulations, the police said on Friday.
Deputy Harare provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Webster Dzvova told New Ziana that the penalties for most traffic offences were too light to deter would be offenders.
“People no longer have respect for the law. The fines are too low,” he said.
“Fines should be deterrent enough, for example if one could be sentenced to 30 days in prison for driving against oncoming traffic, when they come back they will not do it again.”
Ass Insp Dzvova said drivers of unregistered commuter omnibuses and taxis (commonly known as mushikashika), who commit the most traffic offences, first weigh the consequences of their illegal actions against the profit to be made, before taking the risk.
He said while penalties should not be too harsh to instill a sense of shock, they should be stiff enough to reduce the propensity to commit crimes.
“For example, a person can choose to pay $2 000 for driving through a red traffic light than wait for it to change,” he said.
The increase in the vehicle population over the years has presented headaches for the Harare City fathers as the roads, which were built during the colonial era, were not designed to cater for the increased volumes.
As a result, reckless driving has become rampant, particularly during peak hours when pirate taxis and illegal commuter omnibus drivers are impatient with the slow follow of traffic in their bid to have rich pickings.
Common offences include driving against the flow of traffic, going through red traffic lights, drunken driving, over-speeding and talking on a mobile phone while driving.
Motorists also have difficulties finding parking space as the available infrastructure can not cope with the huge population of vehicles, which has grown exponentially with the human population and incomes growth.
Many motorists are opting to leave home early in the morning to beat traffic jams, and getting home late in the evening while biding their time at workplaces for the traffic to ease. — New Ziana