Govt aims for 25% reduction in road accidents

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Felix Mhona, says his ministry is committed to improving road safety to reduce traffic accidents, which have claimed numerous lives.

Minister Mhona presented his statement on reducing road accidents in the august House on Thursday.

He noted that the ministry aims to decrease road accidents and fatalities by at least 25 percent annually.

“My ministry is not aloof to the realities we face regarding road traffic accidents. As you may all be aware, the National Development Strategy (NDS)1 envisages that by 2025, Zimbabwe should achieve high-quality and efficient public transport service, enhanced by a safer, efficient, affordable, accessible, and smart multi-modal transportation system, covering both rural and urban areas, with a view to reducing road accidents and fatalities by 25% annually,” Minister Mhona said.

“We are building on this policy position to deliver safer roads for our people. Consequently, to prevent further road traffic crashes and manage prevalent risks, we are taking numerous immediate steps. We have reviewed the ministry’s procedures for licensing public service vehicles by streamlining the role of the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) to ensure these vehicles meet the necessary safety standards and are fit to be driven on public roads before being licensed to carry passengers or goods.”

He added that they are also strengthening the role of the transport operator associations by implementing a policy directive requiring every transport operator to be a member of an association of their choice, properly constituted and registered.

The minister reiterated that the fight against road carnage is addressed under five pillars: Road Safety Management, Safer Roads and Mobility, Safer Vehicles, Safer Road Use, and Post-Crash Response.

Reacting to the presentation, Member of Parliament for Bulawayo Central, Surrender Kapoikuli, said it is important for the ministry to expedite the dualisation of highways to make the roads safer.

“If you check our roads, particularly highways, they are very narrow, and the volume of traffic has increased. Most of our roads, especially highways, have aged and now have potholes. I urge the Minister to embark on a nationwide road dualization program. Half the time when you are driving on our highways, you miss each other by an inch. Dualisation is a long-term solution to this problem,” he said.

MP for Pelandaba-Tshabalala constituency, Joe Tshuma, highlighted that some buses on highway routes overspeed, endangering passengers and fellow road users.

Tshuma said it is important for the ministry to ensure that motorists are constantly reminded of road safety rules.

“I have noticed that when you are on the highway, travelling at 120 km/h, a bus overtakes you and disappears, clearly indicating the driver is travelling at over 140 or 160 km/h. I urge our Hon. Minister to enforce the speed limit for buses to a maximum of 100 km/h. That could help reduce recklessness,” he said.

“Also, the Ministry must expedite information dissemination. At times, we blame bus drivers, but have you noticed how ordinary people fail to observe road rules? Perhaps it is because many buy these licenses. The Ministry should use media to educate people on observing road rules.”