Business Community Development

Road carnage impedes community development

Road construction workers working on Chinhoyi Roads
By Elvis Dumba
The country is set to lose out on its National Development Strategy plan to achieve an upper-middle-income economy by 2030 due to the loss of human lives through road carnages.
With human error remaining the major contributing factor for major accidents in the country, traffic safety experts have called for behaviour change amongst motorists.
“We are losing precious lives of breadwinners, students, farmers, and leaders due to accidents yet we count on the same people to develop our communities. Road accidents are taking away these people,” a driving instructor, Rudo Mbeve said
At least 69 people have so far died in traffic accidents this festive season. 92 were injured in the 1 285 recorded road traffic accidents.
A recently released police report revealed a high number of private vehicles involved in the majority of the festive season accidents.
Human error in the form of speeding, overtaking errors, inattention and misjudgment caused the accidents. Injuries and deaths were higher because of the overloading of passengers, National Police Spokesperson,  Snr Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said.
“On Unity Day, 22nd December, a total of 107 road traffic accidents were recorded countrywide and three of the accidents were fatal where three people died while 27 were injured. In 2021, 144 road traffic accidents were recorded with seven being fatal, killing 10 people while 26 others were injured.
“On Christmas Day, a total of 119 road traffic accidents were recorded countrywide with 10 being fatal, killing 13 people and injuring 89, compared to 187 road traffic accidents recorded during the same period in 2021 with 10 fatal, killing 13 people and injuring 35 others.
“On Boxing Day, 88 road traffic accidents were recorded countrywide, 15 being fatal and 16 people were killed while 19 others were injured, compared to the year 2021 where 103 road traffic accidents were recorded, with five being fatal with seven people killed, while 29 others were injured,” he said.
A worrying trend in the country is on private vehicles which will be overloaded with passengers with national public transport challenges forcing many people to use private vehicles for public transport whilst motorists use their private cars as illegal commuter vehicles.
“Some of them will be overloaded while others are being used for purposes which are clearly not suitable for such use. The police have so far impounded 2 159 vehicles for various defects.” Ass Commissioner Nyathi revealed.
Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe Managing Director, Mr. Munesushe Munodawafa appealed to motorists to be responsible on the roads.
“We continue to appeal to public service vehicle owners and drivers not to overload and from the statistics, it is clear that we can do better in terms of curbing road traffic accidents,” he said.
Hit-and-run incidents on pedestrians, usually in high-density areas where unlicensed drivers and unroadworthy vehicles freely roam the streets, have also contributed to the death and injuries of thousands of people in the country.
In Chinhoyi, road authorities were forced to erect road rumble strips near the Chinhoyi University of Technology where students were being knocked down nearly every week with two students knocked to death by a haulage truck in October.
Stephen Zimucha lost his job after he was confined to a wheelchair when he was knocked down by a speeding car in a high-density suburb of Alaska in May 2022. The driver sped away and the victim lost his income in a development that affected his family.
The current bad state of the highway roads is also contributing to some road accidents.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende