By Byron Mutingwende
In a bid to eradicate road traffic deaths, various provinces have formed the Provincial Road Safety Committees (PRSCs) that will have territorial authority to determine the extent of road traffic injury problem in their province and the nature and type of interventions applicable to the same.
Mr Obio Chinyere, the Managing Director of the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) said the committees would go a long way in bringing solutions to road traffic deaths.
He was speaking at the stakeholder conference held in Harare on 4 October 2018 that was organised by Engineer Joel Biggie Matiza, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
“In line with the national spirit of devolution, the various provinces here represented shall form robust Provincial Road Safety Committees (PRSCs). This means that each province must have its own provincial road strategy and implement it. Gone are the days of ‘one size fits all’ approach,” Mr Chinyere said.
Over the last few weeks, the country has experienced unacceptable horrific road traffic facilities. On 30 August 2018, 13 people perished in Kadoma Chawasarira Bus and commuter omnibus head-on collision, which also resulted in the injury of 31 people.
In his speech at the conference, Engineer Matiza noted with concern several other separate crashes occurring almost every week involving pirate passenger carrying vehicles popularly known as Mushikashika.
“Of late, we have noted with concern, the occurrence of fatal crashes involving the Toyota Wish. This problem is compounded by the general blatant disregard of road rules and regulations by not only some kombi drivers but also some private drivers.
“You will agree with me that our country cannot afford such wanton loss of precious human capital, especially considering that 90% of these crashes are caused by human error, hence, preventable,” Engineer Matiza said.
The roads have become death traps where the young and the old perish every day. Pedestrians are not spared as well. Every day in Zimbabwe, on average, a road traffic collision occurs every 15 minutes, 38 to 40 people are injured and 5 people die on the roads.
Anually, Zimbabwe loses an average of 2 000 people while about 13 000 people are injured. This results in an estimated loss of about US$406 million, an amount which is up to 3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) pegged at US$14 billion.
“There is no doubt that urgent action must be taken to halt this road traffic injury epidemic. Road safety is a collective responsibility. We must all be responsible and be held accountable if Zimbabwe is to realise our economic vision, as espoused by His Excellence, Our President, Cde. ED Mnangagwa, of becoming a middle income economy by 2030,” Engineer Matiza said.
Mr Albert Mugabe, the TSCZ Board Chairman, said his organisation promotes road safety through safety education, training, publicity and research in cooperation with other stakeholders.
“As Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, we believe so much in a multi-sectoral approach in the fight against loss of lives, limbs and property on our roads due to preventable road traffic crashes. These stakeholders are critical for the development and implementation of sustainable road safety strategies and programmes,” Mr. Mugabe said.
He revealed that there was lobbying to transform TSCZ into a Road Safety Authority that will have greater leverage in demanding road safety of organisations and individuals.