HARARE – Government is planning to remove all vehicles that are defective from the country’s roads in a desperate bid to tame rising carnage.
The move by the ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), comes as road traffic accidents have spiked to alarming levels.
In the last two months alone, more than 60 people have died due to traffic-related accidents.
Just last month, 45 people died on the spot when two buses collided near Rusape.
And more recently, an overloaded commuter omnibus killed nine people last week in a head-on collision with a Greenfuel sugar cane truck in Manzvire in Manicaland.
In a statement, Transport and Infrastructure minister Joel Biggie Matiza notified road users that an operation to remove defective vehicles will be underway to reduce road deaths.
He said government is committed to meeting the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety that envisages a reduction in road traffic deaths by 50 percent by 2020.
“I would like, in particular, to appeal to operators of public service vehicles as well as private motorists, not to use defective and unroadworthy vehicles.
“In this respect I want to advise would-be-offenders that (the) Zimbabwe Republic Police and (the) Vehicle Inspectorate Department will be on the lookout for defective vehicles throughout the holiday period,” he said.
While some of the accidents have been attributed to arrogance on the part of the drivers who disregard road rules and unlicensed drivers, Matiza said speeding has also been one of the major causes of fatal accidents.
Zimbabwe, which has a population of about 14 million, has a vehicle population estimated at over two million.
It is also estimated that only 1,6 million vehicles are registered with the Central Vehicle Registry.
However, due to a combination of factors, including the tough economic environment, not many vehicles are still getting regular service and fixed whenever defects arise.
As such, the country’s roads are teeming with defective and unregistered vehicles that are partly contributing to the spike in accidents.
According to the World Health Organisation, traffic accidents contribute to 23 percent of 5,8 million (1,334 million deaths) injury deaths recorded throughout the world.