Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent—
Zimbabwe yesterday officially adopted SADC signs and signals, with all road users expected to acquaint themselves with them with immediate effect. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are expected to buy, study and abide by the new Highway Code that is already available locally. The new code replaces the old Highway Code developed in the early 1970s.
Addressing delegates at the official launch of the upgraded new Highway Code — hours after a horrific accident claimed over 20 people along the Harare-Masvingo Highway — Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo described driving as a privilege and not a right.
The upgraded Highway Code comes after 38 620 road accidents were reported last year, killing 1 720 people and injuring 11 379. “To all road users, the upgraded version of the Highway Code is a must-have,” said Dr Gumbo.
“I would like to appeal to all road authorities, including our own department of roads, all urban councils and rural district councils to ensure that they erect the new signs and signals and other devices as required by Statutory Instrument 41 of 2016 and the SADC design manual.”
The SADC signs and signals have new colours and signs for pedestrians, passengers and even animal-drawn vehicles that must also be equipped with reflectors.
Carriageway markings have been redesigned to match those in other countries in the region, while a four-way stop system has been introduced, which is said to be safer than traditional stop signs or signal-controlled intersections.
New signs such as the minimum speed limit sign and no hitch hiking sign are expected to improve traffic flow and make travelling on roads safer. Dr Gumbo said the harmonisation of road signs was one of the strategies employed by the SADC region to achieve the set target by the United Nations of reducing carnage on the world’s roads by 50 percent.
He said a provision was made for the non-SADC signs to remain on display until 31 December 2025, but all signs that were damaged, vandalised or obscured should be replaced with an equivalent SADC sign.
This was meant to ensure that all the signs erected before the 8th of April of 2016 were used up to the expiry of their life span of approximately eight years, he said. Turning to the newly introduced box junction at the intersection of Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way, Dr Gumbo said it was being used as a pilot project.